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UC-NRLF 


B    H    bll 


•THE  LAW  OF  LOVE 


'•.i.    MARION   REEDY 


... 


THE 


BEING-FANTASIES 
OF-5CIENCE-AND 


INKED-INTO-ENGLISH 

TOO1E.E.R-UPTME 

•GLOOMSTER5- 


US-MARION-REEDY 


r.4^ft>***^K7M 

^•M^ 


13*1 


Copyright  1905 

by 
Elbert   Hubbard 


CONTENTS 

THE  LAW  OF  LOVE  1 

THE  GREATEST  WOMAN  POET  17 

GINX'S  BABY  37 

THE  TWO  EAGLETS  61 

A  GIPSY  GENIUS  81 

BRICHANTEAU,  ACTOR  107 

A  GOLDEN  BOOK  135 


M182181 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


VERS   DORES 

O  atheist  man!  are  you  the  only  one  imbued 
With  thought,  on  earth  where  everything  with  life  's  a-teem  ? 
Though  license  give  your  forces  fuller  scope  't  would  seem 
No  Universe  within  your  counsels  you  include. 

In  every  beast  may'st  note  a  mind  with  thought  indued; 
Each  flower  is  a  soul  in  Nature's  ample  scheme ; 
With  mysteries  of  love  her  steely  metals  gleam ; 
"All  things  are  sentient!"  and  your  lesser  powers  elude. 

Behold  within  the  sightless  wall  a  watchful  eye ! 
Somewhat  of  Trinity  within  all  matter  hides.  .  . 
To  impious  uses,  therefore,  turn  it  not  awry ! 

Oft  in  the  lowliest  Earth-born,  hidden,  God  abides; 
And  like  the  nascent  eye  beneath  the  eyelid's  fold, 
The  stone's  close  sheath  a  spirit  pure  doth  hold. 

Gerard  de  Nerval,  translated  by  A.  Lenalie. 


ROF.  VON  SCHROEN'S 
recent,  alleged  discovery  of 
life  and  sex  in  crystals  need 
not  startle  the  world.  Man 
has  felt  that  there  was  noth 
ing  inanimate,  from  the  be 
ginning  of  time.  His  intuition 
has  always  been  in  advance 
of  his  reason  *<  His  poetry  has  led  his  science 
everywhere.  The  oneness  of  things  is  being  dem 
onstrated  in  these  days ;  that  is  all.  Matter  and 
spirit  are  but  manifestations  of  force.  Some  phi 
losophies  have  pushed  this  oneness  of  things  to  the 
end  of  maintaining  that  all  matter  is  illusion  and 
that  our  thoughts  themselves  are  illusions  and  we 
ourselves  but  a  dream  within  a  mighty  dream. 
Q  Biology  has  resolved  life  back  to  the  single  cell, 
in  which  all  the  senses  are  converged  &  Physics 
have  shown  sight  and  touch  and  smell  and  hear 
ing  to  be  but  varying  apprehensions  of  one  force. 
Light,  heat  and  sound  are  motion,  swifter  or 
slower.  Sex  is  a  differentiation  of  the  single  cell. 
Philologists  assert  that,  originally,  the  name  of  God 
in  every  language  was  both  masculine  &  feminine. 
Q  Life  is  but  force.  Matter  holds  together  by  force. 
Matter,  therefore,  has  life.  This  is  a  logic  irref uta- 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


ble,  to  a  mind  in  touch  with  the  progress  of  study 
in  all  the  sciences  in  this  time.  The  star  is  brother 
to  the  clod;  the  moth  is  kin  to  the  mastodon. 
Worlds  are  made  to  blossom  in  space  as  flowers 
are  fructified  by  floating  pollen.  Mingling  atoms 
make  suns  *<  Cell  seeks  affinity  with  cell.  Dust 
blown  from  the  unimaginable  outer  rim  of  silence 
finds  its  fellow  dust  and,  engaging  in  amorous 
whirl,  a  nebula  is  formed  and  from  that  nebula 
suns  and  systems  of  suns.  Worlds  in  contact  give 
birth  to  worlds.  That  crystals  meet  and  kiss  and 
mingle  and  produce  other  crystals  is  only  "the 
way  of  a  man  with  a  maid."  *&  &  &  &  ^  &  & 
Love  is  the  only  law.  Love  is  spirit,  and  matter  is 
the  child  of  spirit.  All  this  any  man  who  reads 
may  know  ^•^^^^^^^^^^'^'^ 
Professor  Von  Schroen  claims  to  be  able  to  prove 
what  Emanuel  Swedenborg  taught,  of  himself, 
of  his  insight  of  the  spirit,  revealing  more  than 
any  microscope.  Swedenborg  taught  what  Gau 
tama  taught  before  him.  The  child  who,  after 
stubbing  his  toe,  scolds  the  obstacle  to  his  pre 
carious  progress,  voices  the  implanted  intuition 
that  matter  is  a  form  of  life.  All  personifications 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


of  matter  and  force  tell  us  that  they  are  recog 
nized  as  kin  to  ourselves,  and  to  our  thoughts  and 
feelings  &£•£•<£•&<£•&&£•£•£•& 
Q  Is  all  this  dreaming?  Was  Thomas  Huxley  a 
dreamer?  Listen  to  him:  "  In  itself  it  is  of  little 
moment  whether  we  express  the  phenomena  of 
Matter  in  terms  of  Spirit  or  the  phenomena  of 
Spirit  in  terms  of  Matter."  A  confession  of  their 
ultimate  indistinguishability  «£*  They  are  different 
effects  upon  our  apprehension  of  the  same  force. 
Some  have  said  that  matter  is  mere  resistance  to 
force.  "Without  this  resistance,  Motion  would  have 
been  without  result,  for  its  action  would  have 
been  infinite/'  says  Balzac,  and  Herbert  Spencer 
says,  "Without  resistance  there  can  be  merely 
empty  extension."  This  is  the  maddest  material 
ism,  but  Newton  holds  that  it  is  absurd  to  suppose 
that  mere  "  inanimate  brute  matter  can  operate 
upon  and  affect  other  matter  without  the  media 
tion  of  something  which  is  not  material."  &  &  & 
This  mediating  something  is  spirit — or,  as  mystics 
say,  the  Word.  Its  manifestations  are  attraction, 
repulsion,  gravitation  *<  All  these  are  Motion. 
"Nowhere,"  says  Balzac,  "is  motion  sterile.  Every- 


4  THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 

where  it  engenders  Number;  but  it  may  be  neu 
tralized  by  a  superior  resistance,  as  in  minerals." 
This  neutralization,  Professor  Schroen's  discovery 
disproves  conclusively — if  he  has  made  the  dis 
covery.  The  motion  is  in  the  crystal  itself;  the  in 
stinct  whereby  it  seeks  out  its  mate  that  it  may 
"increase  and  multiply."  &  £•  &  &  £•  ^  & 
There  is  no  rest  Inert  matter  is  in  motion,  accord 
ing  to  the  newest  science.  The  atoms  of  matter 
can  make  way  for  the  X-ray — itself  material — 
and  unite  again,  as  water  unites  after  one  has 
dipped  his  finger  in  it.  Water  is  full  of  life.  Min 
erals  are,  if  we  deceive  not  ourselves  in  recent 
discoveries,  only  a  denser  water.  All  is  fluid  in 
more  or  less  tangible  shape,  and  thought  itself  is 
fluid,  according  to  the  biologists.  Here  we  have 
the  thought  of  old  Heraclitus,  who  preached  "the 
flowing,  flowing,  flowing  of  the  world,"  and  all 
things  in  it  ^  ^  &£•&&•?&&&& 
Out  of  the  single  cell — protoplasm,  amebae,  vor- 
ticella — in  combination,  by  its  seeking  its  own, 
comes  variation  or  number  and,  ultimately,  Har 
mony.  Thus  we  grasp  the  Platonic  idea  of  Number 
and  music — the  famous  "  music  of  the  spheres," 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


which  the  uninitiate  have  laughed  at  evermore. 
Number  through  Motion  resulting  in  Harmony 
gives  us  Law  ^^^^^^^^^^ 
All  this  implies  the  operation  of  the  "  unseen." 
Our  most  materialistic  sciences  deal  ever  with  the 
"unseen";  with  the  undulatory  theory  of  light,  of 
sound,  of  heat,  with  gravitation  «,<  They  are  all 
imponderable,  invisible  forces  or  substances.  The 
atoms,  themselves  almost  inconceivable,  operate 
upon  one  another  in  the  workings  of  these  forces. 
The  pollen  from  the  flower  finds  its  way  to  an 
other,  miles  away,  and  fecundates  it  as  Schmid's 
father,  born  in  Germany,  found  his  mother,  born 
in  Australia,  to  the  seemingly  unimportant  end 
that  Schmid  should  come  to  be  <&  Surely  those 
ancients  were  not  far  wrong  in  deeming  the  atoms 
themselves  endowed  with  conscious  intelligence. 
C£  There  is  life  in  everything  and  everywhere, 
and  no  life  without  love  ^  As  a  man  lies  with  a 
woman  to  perpetuate  their  kind,  so  do  all  things, 
infinkesimal  and  vast,  through  Nature,  bed  with 
each  other.  The  phallus  is  a  mightier  symbol  than 
the  virtuous  wot  of.  It  is  found  even  in  the  Cross. 
The  sciences  are  a  study  of  the  universal  lust. 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


Flower  fecundates  flower,  though  one  sends  its 
seed  to  another  on  the  limbs  of  a  wandering  and 
uncertain  bee.  There  is  a  rain  of  life  between  the 
planets.  Collisions  scatter  world-fragments  in  the 
far  furrows  of  space  and  the  fragments  are  gath 
ered  up  by  other  planets  and  life  transferred  to 
them  from  systems  that  have  ceased  to  be.  In 
mathematics  numbers  cohabit  and  the  results  are 
glimpses  of  the  secrets  of  Infinity.  In  chemistry 
fluids  and  solids  mingle  to  make  things  new.  In 
physics  the  savagery  and  the  tenderness  of  force, 
in  destruction  or  reproduction,  produce  power. 
Biology  shows  us  the  operation  of  the  same  affec 
tion  to  the  development  of  life  &  Differentiation, 
selection,  organization — all  these  are  processes 
of  intelligent  amorousness  in  matter  **  This  intel 
ligent  amorousness  is  the  spirit  in  matter — the 
"  love  that  makes  the  world  go  round,"  that "  holds 
the  universe  ensphered."  &  &  &  &  <£•  &  & 
But  where  does  it  end — this  intelligent  amorous 
ness  ?  There  is  a  limit  to  the  finite.  But  the  finite  is 
part  of  the  Infinite.  It  would  seem  that  the  pursuit 
of  this  law  of  love  would  bring  one  only  to  the 
Unknowable,  pushing  it  only  a  little  farther  back. 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


Cf  Love  may  follow  whither  love  leads — unto  the 
essence  of  God  even — for  God  is  love.  The  material 
aspect  of  love,  dwelt  on  thus  far,  need  not  deter 
us  from  pushing  "farther  North."  &  To  whoso 
believes  in  the  oneness  of  Matter  and  Spirit,  there 
is  no  Unknowable  «<  The  end  of  the  law  of  Love, 
and  of  the  spiritual  faculties  for  its  perception, 
can  be  the  knowing  of  this  Unknowable — union 
with  the  Infinite.  Let  us  make  a  flight!  &  &  & 
Progress  and  increase  must  end,  say  the  material 
ists.  Evolution  must  cease  somewhere,  and  when 
it  does  cease  dissolution  has  begun.  Attraction  in 
matter  rules  for  awhile.  Concentration  is  the  law. 
Repulsion  comes  into  play  predominantly.  Disso 
lution  is  the  law.  The  struggle  is  everlasting  be 
tween  Attraction  and  Repulsion.  Dissolution  is  but 
a  state  in  which  further  Evolution  ferments.  From 
the  nebulae  the  systems  come  •£&  Systems  die  and 
are  scattered.  They  whirl,  dark  and  dead  through 
space.  A  planet  rolls  through  the  dust  Friction 
fires  the  dust,  melts  it,  sets  it  moving.  The  disturb 
ing  globe  or  comet  drops  life  upon  the  fragments 
now  set  in  molten  motion  once  again  <£  Another 
nebula!  ^  In  course  of  time  the  cooling  process 


8  THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 

begins.  Parts  are  cast  off.  Soon  a  sun  and  circling 
train  of  satellites!  **  How  often  may  the  circle  of 
systems  from  life,  through  death,  to  life  again  be 
made?  The  conclusion  is  that  the  Universe  itself 
must  complete  a  circle;  must  return  whence  it 
emanated  &&&&£•&&&&&&& 
From  the  one  cell  life  variegates  in  large  as  in 
small.  The  end  of  variety  is  the  return  to  the  one. 
The  end  is  the  beginning.  "I  am  the  Alpha  and  the 
Omega."  We  may  fall  back  into  our  own  sun,  but 
that  sun  will,  in  time,  fall  back  into  a  greater,  and 
that  again  into  another,  until  the  primordial  Sun 
is  reached.  Matter  must  fall  back  and  back  towards 
the  origin  thereof  and  end  in  the  Absolute.  Shall 
we  say  that  it  returns  &  returns  and  returns  until 
all  creation  condenses  into  the  mere  thought  of  the 
Supreme  Intelligence?  &  The  number  One  is  the 
original  of  all  mathematics.  Zero  is  but  the  figure 
one  bent  into  a  circle.  All  the  figures  are  but  vari 
ations  of  1  and  0.  All  life  is  but  variation  of  the 
life  that  is — through  Life  and  Death.  The  end  of 
all  number  is  return  to  Unity,  to  the  one  bent  into 
"the  perfect  circle,"  symbol  of  quiet  and  comple 
tion  £•  Love  conquers  death  even  by  death;  for 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE  9 

Love  is  the  spirit  of  which  matter  is  a  mere  instru 
ment  &  When  the  circle  is  complete  all  things  are 
absorbed  in  that  whence  they  sprung  or  whence 
they  differentiated.  Matter  has  not  destroyed  itself. 
Through  development,  through  the  retort  and 
alembic  of  change,  it  has  purified  itself  and  come 
back  to  the  Supreme,  all  Spirit  *<  Matter  is,  as  it 
were,  volatilized;  all  the  spirit  in  it  is  set  free  and, 
through  indemnities  of  purification,  the  last  ma 
teriality  of  matter  is  transmuted  into  spirit — as  the 
substance  of  a  rose  leaf  into  the  odor  thereof  or, 
remoter  still,  into  the  thought  of  the  odor  of  the 
rose — and  Matter  is  not  annihilated,  but  only 
changed  into  its  other  self,  Spirit  &  It  is  resolved 
back  into  the  Idea  in  which  alone  it  had  existence. 
This  is  the  idea  of  Nirvana  &  &  <&  <&  &  jfr  & 
This  is  not  a  doctrine  of  Nothingness,  and  the  end 
of  this  law  of  love,  which  the  German  savant  is 
said  to  have  found  operating  in  crystals  as  hard 
as  this  inevitable  law  of  love  itself,  is  not  the  pan 
acea  of  "  universal  suicide."  Death  is  love's  attain 
ment  of  calm,  after  the  mighty  circle  of  struggle 
has  been  made.  Q  It  would  seem,  of  course,  that, 
if  the  end  of  everything  is  to  be  annihilation,  the 


10  THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 

individual  might  take  a  short  cut  to  the  end,  by 
means  of  "a  tall  tree  and  courage  and  a  rope/' 
might  hasten  his  arrival  at  the  absorption.  But  the 
law  of  love  is  not  the  law  of  self.  It  is  a  law  under 
stood  best  in  the  universal  and  reaching  its  full 
meaning  only  in  bringing  the  universes  and  all 
that  they  inherit  under  its  sway  in  utter  cessation 
of  strife  and  attrition;  not  in  annihilation,  but  in  a 
concentration  of  all  in  one  perfect  peace  £•  ^  £• 
Nirvana  negatives  nothing.  It  brings  all  discord 
ances  and  denials  to  a  harmonious  positive  «*  It 
brings  Resistance,  which  is  Matter,  to  Rest,  which 
is  the  Spirit — to  the  Rest  which  is  the  completion 
of  Motion's  infinite  circle  &  &  &  &  <£  &  & 
The  end,  then,  is  "the  death  of  all  desire,"  after  the 
Universe's  riot  of  desire,  after  its  fulfilment  of  the 
law  of  love.  The  end,  then,  is  what  Schopenhauer 
suggests,  "The  denial  of  the  will  to  live."  But  this 
is  not  a  mere  coprolalia,  a  foul  necrophilism,  a 
worship  of  decay  and  death  suggestive  of  D'An- 
nunzio's  books.  "The  denial  of  the  will  to  live"  is 
not,  necessarily,  a  denial  of  the  law  of  love  I  have 
tried  to  explain.  Schopenhauer  is  not  the  pessimist 
or  nihilist  he  has  been  pictured  &  He  conceives 


THELAWOFLOVE  n 

of  the  Will  as  the  life  of  the  race.  Will  is  his  name 
for  force  &  He  pronounces  it  the  "  unconscious  " 
origin  of  things,  although  we  have  seen  rather  that 
the  persistence  of  life  is  conscious  &  He  declares 
Will  to  be  the  Idea— that  "this  whole  world  is  only 
object  in  relation  to  subject,  perception  of  a  per- 
ceiver;  in  a  word,  idea."  &  This  is  the  Hindu  doc 
trine  of  reality — as  Maya,  or  illusion.  The  Idea,  for 
him,  is  the  eternal  essence,  the  "ding  ansich,"  the 
"thing-in-itself."  All  is  but  a  mirror  of  a  mighty 
Mind.  "  We  are  thoughts  in  the  dream  of  Brahm." 
Q  The  attitude  Schopenhauer  would  advise  is  res 
ignation,  the  resignation  of  the  Christian  saints. 
He  teaches  us  not  to  seek  nothingness,  nor  to 
evade  the  pains  incident  to  the  working  out  of  the 
law  of  love.  He  insists  that  this  world  is  nothing. 
The  rest  he  would  attain  is  not  the  annihilation  of 
desire,  but  rather  the  harmonizing  of  desires  as  of 
"steeds  thoroughly  broken  by  the  trainer,"  as  a 
Sanscrit  poem  has  it  *^  This  is  a  doctrine  of  self- 
controlled  submission  to  the  law,  serene  in  faith 
that  the  Law,  though  in  matter  manifest  as  lust, 
is,  in  its  ultimate,  Love  fulfilled,  which  is  Peace. 
The  satiety  of  the  Spirit  is  his  Nirvana;  a  satiety 


12  THELAWOFLOVE 

attainable  only  thro'  the  sloughing  off  of  Matter 
or  its  resolution  into  Spirit.  "The  denial  of  the  will 
to  live,"  is  only  the  denial  of  the  supremity  of  value 
of  this  life.  It  looks  beyond  to  "  the  immitigable 
end"  of  effort,  of  action,  of  the  all-informing  Mo 
tion — rest  <£•  And  that  is  all  our  greatest  Seer  has 
promised.  "He  giveth  his  beloved  Sleep."  &  £•  & 
A  far  cry,  say  you,  from  the  German  professor 
and  his  discovery  of  life  and  sex  in  crystals  ?  Per 
haps  *<  But  I  had  been  reading  Balzac's  Louis 
Lambert  the  day  the  discovery  was  announced. 
Though  the  book  was  written  in  1832,  it  main 
tained  this  thesis  of  life  in  everything  and  I  thought 
to  show  how  the  French  Shakespeare  had  fore 
stalled,  by  nearly  seventy  years,  by  mere  genius, 
the  myopic  labors  of  the  German  savant  who,  as 
reported  in  the  newspapers,  wanted  five  hundred 
thousand  dollars  to  develop  his  discovery  into  some 
usefulness  for  mankind  **  Balzac  gave  it  to  us  for 
nothing  but  his  pleasure  in  giving  &<&£•&• 


THE  GREATEST  WOMAN  POET 


Yea,  gold  is  son  of  Zeus :  no  rust 

Its  timeless  light  can  stain ; 
The  worm  that  brings  man's  flesh  to  dust 

Assaults  its  strength  in  vain: 
More  gold  than  gold  the  love  I  sing, 
A  hard,  inviolable  thing. 

Men  say  the  passions  should  grow  old 

With  waning  years;  my  heart 
Is  incorruptible  as  gold, 

'T  is  my  immortal  part : 
Nor  is  there  any  god  can  lay 
On  love  the  finger  of  decay. 

—Michael  Field. 


HERE  is  a  world  of  pity  in 
the  book  of  Henry  Thorn 
ton  Wharton  about  Sappho. 
It  is  a  little  book,  but  wistful 
and  tristful  in  its  endeavor 
to  materialize  from  the  haze 
and  hoar  of  vanished  time, 
this  woman  whose  name  is 
a  synonym  of  shattered  splendors  of  sublime  song, 
and  suggestive  of  strange  sins  *<  All  who  have 
studied  her  broken  music  conclude  with  a  poignant 
regret  for  the  perfection  hinted  at  in  its  incom 
pleteness.  Its  fragments  are  like  the  last,  pathetic 
utterances  of  one  dying,  babbling  misty  memories 
o'  green  fields  &  They  are  stray,  ruined,  broken, 
shreds  of  light,  remembered  of  the  golden  morn 
ing  of  the  world,  and  touched  with  the  sadness  of 
the  decay  whence  they  have  been  rescued  ^  & 
Not  more  than  four  hundred  lines  are  all  we  have 
of  her.  Not  one  perfect  song.  These  fragments  are 
culled  from  the  commentaries  of  rhetoricians  and 
grammarians,  from  an  allusion,  now  and  then,  in 
some  dry  disquisition  of  the  classic  writers  or  the 
rapturous  outburst  of  some  of  her  singing  brethren, 
half  admiration,  half  despair,  as  when  Sophocles 
exclaims,  concerning  her  verse,  "Oh  gods,  what 


is  THE    LA  WOF    LOVE 

love,  what  yearning,  contributed  to  this."  &  & 
In  this  little  book  (London,  David  Stott,  1885, 
1887;  John  Lane,  1895,)  are  all  these  fragments 
gathered,  just  as  found,  and  shown,  small  as  they 
are,  to  have  inspired  many  a  fancy  in  the  greatest 
poets  who  have  followed,  unto  our  own  day.  For 
she  is  the  poet  of  the  poets,  their  patroness  saint 
Her  song,  all  faintly  heard  though  it  be,  rings,  a 
delicate  echo,  through  numberless  lovely  lyrics, 
and  the  piteously  brief,  but  immortally  bright, 
gleams  of  the  glory  of  her  muse  illuminate  and 
warm  the  colder  utterances  of  more  material  times. 
Q  This  is  what  an  eminent  critic,  and  himself  a 
poet,  thinks  of  her:  "Never  before  these  songs 
were  sung,  and  never  since,  did  the  human  soul, 
in  the  grip  of  a  fiery  passion,  utter  a  cry  like  hers; 
and,  from  the  executive  point  of  view,  in  direct 
ness,  in  lucidity,  in  that  high,  imperious,  verbal 
economy  which  only  Nature  can  teach  the  artist, 
she  has  no  equal,  and  none  worthy  to  take  the 
place  of  second/'  *<  So,  Mr.  Theodore  Watts,  the 
friend  of  the  one  poet  of  this  day  who  has  caught 
most  of  the  Sapphic  melody  and  fire — Algernon 
Charles  Swinburne  &&&&&&&&& 


THELAWOFLOVE  19 

Twenty-five  centuries  ago,  in  the  phrase  of  Lord 
Byron,  "Burning  Sappho  loved  and  sung."  "During 
her  lifetime  Jeremiah  began  to  prophesy,  Daniel 
was  carried  away  to  Babylon;  Nebuchadnezzar 
besieged  and  captured  Jerusalem;  Solon  was  legis 
lating  at  Athens,  and  Tarquinius  Priscus,  the  fifth 
king,  is  said  to  have  been  reigning  over  Rome. 
She  lived  before  the  birth  of  Gautama,  the  founder 
of  Buddhism,  the  religion  now  professed  by,  per 
haps,  almost  a  third  of  the  whole  population  of 
the  globe."  The  fragments  of  her  writings  reveal 
but  the  faintest  adumbrations  of  her  personality. 
All  certainly  known  of  her  is  that  she  loved,  and 
told,  matchlessly,  the  woe  thereof.  She  is  little 
more  than  a  sigh  suspiring  through  and  adown  the 
centuries  **  Psappha,  as  she  called  herself,  is  a 
vaguer  entity  than  Shakespeare.  She  was  the  one 
great  woman  poet  of  the  world,  as  he  is  the  great 
man  poet  &&&&&&&&&&&& 
Athenaeus,  writing  about  the  end  of  the  third 
century  of  our  era,  says  that  the  writings  of  Sappho 
were  preserved  intact,  for  he  says  he  has  "learned 
completely  all  the  songs,  breathing  of  love,  which 
sweetest  Sappho  sang."  It  is  almost  unaccountable 


20  THE    LAWOF    LOVE 

that  poetry  held  in  such  high  esteem  by  the  high 
est  authorities  should  have  perished  utterly,  but 
Christianity  destroyed  much  that  it  can  never 
replace;  even  though  it  claims  to  have  given  us 
better  things.  One  writer  says  the  works  of  Sappho 
were  burned  in  the  year  1073,  at  Constantinople 
and  Rome,  by  Pope  Gregory  VII.,  while  another 
maintains  they  were  destroyed  by  the  Byzantine 
emperors  and  the  poems  of  Gregory  Nazianzen 
circulated  in  their  stead  j*  But  Sappho's  name  is 
still  sweet  on  the  lips  of  men,  and  Gregory  Nazi 
anzen  is  remembered,  outside  of  Roman  Catholic 
hagiography,  only  for  this  rumor  jfi  Most  of  her 
verses  are  gone  with  "the  laurel,  the  palms  and  the 
paean,  the  breasts  of  the  nymphs  in  the  brake." 
Q  Dear  old  Herodotus  tells  us  that  Sappho's  father 
was  named  Scamandronymus;  but  the  Father  of 
History  was  one  hundred  and  fifty  years  after  her 
and — well,  it  is  preferable  to  believe  Herodotus 
than  to  worry  and  weary  ourselves  over  the  seven 
other  names  of  her  father,  given  in  a  lexicon  of  the 
eleventh  century.  Seven  cities  warred  for  Homer, 
"  the  poet."  Sappho's  seven  supposed  fathers  are, 
perhaps,  merely  a  little  bit  of  "balance"  contrived 


THELAWOFLOVE  21 

by  old  writers  for  the  story  of  "the  poetess."  Her 
mother's  name  was  Cleis,  of  whom  nothing  more 
is  known  &  She  had  two  brothers,  Charaxus  and 
Larichus.  There  was  a  mainly  mythical  third  one, 
Eurygius,  of  whom  nothing  is  known  &  Larichus 
was  cup-bearer  at  Mitylene  and,  as  this  was  a  post 
attainable  only  by  youths  of  noble  lineage,  it  is 
supposed  that  Sappho  was  an  aristocrat  &  &  j* 
Anent  Charaxus  there  is  a  story  that  delights  the 
hearts  of  little  children  to  this  day,  in  its  modern 
form  of  Cinderella  *<  So  closely,  after  all,  we  are 
knit  to  the  olden  time.  Charaxus,  carrying  Lesbian 
wine  to  Naucratis,  in  Egypt,  met  Doricha,  or  Rho- 
dopis  and  ransomed  her,  because  of  her  beauty, 
from  slavery,  for  a  great  sum  of  money.  Rhodopis, 
or  "Rosy-cheek,"  is  likewise,  a  bone  of  contention 
among  commentators  <&  But  I  prefer  the  story  of 
"Rosy-cheek"  that  is  most  fitting  to  one  related  to 
the  first  "poetess  of  passion."  &  &  &  &  &  <s* 
One  day  Rhodopis  was  bathing  at  Naucratis  «<  An 
eagle,  swooping,  snatched  one  of  her  sandals  from 
the  hands  of  a  waiting- woman  and  bore  it  away  to 
Memphis.  There,  King  Psammetichus  was  adminis 
tering  justice,  &  the  flying  eagle  let  fall  the  sandal. 


22  THELAWOFLOVE 

It  fell  into  the  King's  lap.  The  beauty  of  the  sandal 
and  its  strange  arrival  caused  the  King  to  have 
quest  made  over  all  the  earth  to  discover  the  san 
dal's  owner.  Rhodopis  was  found  at  Naucratis  and 
brought  to  the  King  **  He  married  her  and,  when 
she  died,  erected  to  her  memory  the  third  pyra 
mid.  There  are  historians  who  say  this  is  false.  It 
is  better  than  true.  It  is  "ben  trovato."  ^  «J*  & 
It  has  also  been  said  that  Sappho  was  married, 
her  husband  being  one  Cercolas,  a  man  of  great 
wealth,  who  sailed  from  Andros,  and  that  she  had 
a  daughter  by  him,  named  Cleis  **  This  is  a  story 
invented,  probably,  by  the  comic  poets,  who  were 
wont  to  satirize  the  poetess,  just  as  we,  to-day, 
satirize  the  New  Woman.  It  is  certain  that  allusions 
to  Sappho's  husband  are  most  satirical,  conveying 
an  indelicate,  not  to  say  obscene,  inuendo  because 
of  her  fondness  for  poetical-amorous  omniverous- 
ness,  so  to  speak.  Amid  many  conjectures  as  to 
the  exact  age  in  which  she  lived,  Mr.  Wharton 
inclines  to  prefer  the  period  between  611  and  592 
B.  C.,  as  most  probable,  in  view,  particularly,  of 
some  lines  of  her  own  in  answer  to  the  poet  Alcaeus, 
who  addressed  her:  "Violet- weaving,  pure,  soft- 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE  23 

smiling  Sappho,  I  want  to  say  something,  but  shame 
deters  me."  &&J>jfiJ>j*&J.j*&& 
Another  legend  is  that  the  poetess  was  beloved  by 
Anacreon,  the  poet  of  love  &  the  grape,  centuries 
before  the  time  of  Omar  Khayyam.  Other  lovers, 
too,  she  is  said  to  have  had — among  them  Archi- 
lochus  and  Hipponax — but  it  is  believed  that  the 
statement  was  made  as  an  aspersion  upon  the  men 
so  mentioned.  The  husband  of  a  passionate  poetess, 
to-day,  is  the  butt  of  ridicule  «•*>  Anacreon,  Mr. 
Wharton  thinks,  lived  many  long  years  after  her 
and  never  set  eyes  upon  her  &  &  &  &  &  j* 
How  long  were  her  days,  or  how  brief,  is  not  known. 
In  one  place  she  applies  to  herself  the  epithet 
"somewhat  old/'  but  this  is  understood  to  be  used 
in  a  sense  relative  rather  than  specific.  Herodotus 
would  make  it  appear  that  she  lived  to  be  fifty, 
but  some  chronologists  have  maintained,  from  all 
the  scant  evidence,  that  she  was  little  more  than 
nineteen  j*J>&&&&&J>jt>j'jt>& 
She  lived  at  Mitylene,  the  chief  city  of  the  island 
of  Lesbos,  in  the  Aegean  Sea,  &  some  historians, 
to  evade  the  odium  of  extreme  moral  decadence 
in  the  singer,  have  invented  another  Sappho,  a 


24  THELAWOFLOVE 

courtesan,  to  bear  the  burden  of  unique  infamy 
attaching  to  the  poetess'  name,  and  even  Alcaeus, 
as  we  have  seen,  speaks  of  her  with  undisguised 
belief  in  her  virtue.  Lesbos  is  only  known  because 
of  her;  known  to  poets  and  readers  of  poetry  and, 
shame  to  say,  to  specialists  in  moral  degeneration, 
as  distinguishing  certain  perversities  that  flourish 
only  in  highly  civilized  communities  jfi  &  &  & 
"Lesbos,"  says  J.  Addington  Symonds,  "the  center 
of  culture,  was  the  island  of  overmastering  pas 
sions;  the  personality  of  the  Greek  race  burned 
there  with  a  fierce  &  steady  flame  of  concentrated 
feeling  ^  The  energy  which  the  lonians  divided 
between  pleasure,  politics,  trade,  legislation,  sci 
ence,  and  the  arts,  and  which  the  Dorians  turned 
to  war  and  statecraft  and  social  economy,  were 
restrained  by  the  Aeolians  within  the  sphere  of 
individual  emotions,  ready  to  burst  forth  volcan- 
ically.  Nowhere,  in  any  age  of  Greek  history,  or  in 
any  part  of  Hellas,  did  the  love  of  physical  beauty, 
the  sensibility  to  radiant  scenes  of  nature,  the  con 
suming  fervor  of  personal  feeling,  assume  such 
grand  proportions,  and  receive  so  illustrious  an 
expression  as  they  did  in  Lesbos  ^  At  first  this 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


25 


passion  blossomed  into  the  most  exquisite  lyrical 
poetry  that  the  world  has  known;  this  was  the 
flower-time  of  the  Aeolians,  their  brief  &  brilliant 
spring.  But  the  fruit  it  bore  was  bitter  and  rotten. 
Lesbos  became  a  by-word  of  corruption.  The  pas 
sions,  which,  for  a  moment,  had  flamed  into  the 
gorgeousness  of  Art,  burnt  their  envelope  of 
words  and  images,  remained  a  mere  furnace  of 
sensuality,  from  which  no  expression  of  the  divine 
in  human  life  could  be  expected/'  This  was  the 
reign  of  hedonism.  The  dazzle  was  succeeded  by 
decay  &&&&&&&&&&&&& 
A  further  picture  of  the  conditions  in  Lesbos,  which 
produced  Sappho,  is  drawn  from  the  same  author. 
"Aeolian  women  were  not  confined  to  the  harem, 
like  lonians,  or  subjected  to  the  rigorous  discipline 
of  the  Spartans  <&•  While  mixing  freely  with  male 
society  they  were  highly  educated  and  accustomed 
to  express  their  sentiments  to  an  extent  unknown 
elsewhere  in  history — until,  indeed,  the  present 
time  &  The  Lesbian  ladies  formed  clubs  for  the 
cultivation  of  poetry  and  music.  They  studied  the 
art  of  beauty,  and  sought  to  refine  metrical  forms 
and  diction.  Nor  did  they  confine  themselves  to 


26 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


the  scientific  side  of  Art.  Unrestrained  by  public 
opinion,  and  passionate  for  the  beautiful,  they 
cultivated  their  senses  &  emotions  and  developed 
their  wildest  passions."  &&&&&&&& 
All  of  which  may  be  true  in  general,  but  not  true 
of  the  poetess,  tho'  she  did  become,  in  a  debased 
age,  a  sort  of  stock  character  in  the  licentious 
drama  *<  Her  infamy  is  a  growth  of  many  years 
after  her  death,  not  justified  by  any  contemporary 
evidence.  "The  fervor  of  her  love  and  the  purity 
of  her  life,"  says  her  biographer,  "and  the  very 
fact  of  a  woman  having  been  the  leader  of  a 
school  of  poetry  and  music,  could  not  have  failed 
to  have  been  misunderstood  by  the  Greek  come 
dians  at  the  close  of  the  fifth  century  B.  C."  jfi 
The  society  and  habits  of  the  Aeolians  at  Lesbos, 
in  Sappho's  time,  as  Mr.  Wharton  quotes  from 
Bournouf,  were  in  complete  contrast  to  those  of 
the  Athenians  in  the  period  of  their  corruption; 
just  as  the  unenviable  reputation  of  the  Lesbians 
was  earned  long  after  the  date  of  Sappho  *<  The 
Christian  writers  naturally  enough  accepted  as  true 
the  plausible  inventions  of  the  Greeks  themselves 
concerning  Sappho.  It  is  only  fair  to  her  memory 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


27 


to  say  that  the  best  authorities,  nowadays,  vindi 
cate  this  immortal  woman  „*«<«<  fc*  «£***«< 
Sappho's  love  for  Phaon  is  a  story  that  has  long 
charmed  the  world  ^  It  may  be  found  in  Ovid's 
Historic  Epistle  XV,  translated  by  Alexander  Pope. 
Phaon  was  of  miraculous  loveliness,  but  insensible 
to  love — a  reactionist,  probably,  against  Lesbian 
conditions.  The  legend  goes,  (for  't  is  a  legend  only 
and  much  doubted,  as  are  all  beautiful  stories) 
that  he  was  a  boatman  of  Mitylene,  gifted  with 
beauty  by  Aphrodite,  so  that  all  women  fell  in  love 
with  him  &  Sappho  loved  him,  but  he  would  not 
listen,  and  in  despair  she  threw  herself  from  the 
Leucadian  rock  into  the  sea.  The  scientists  have 
destroyed  this  story,  but  the  unscientific  world 
will  not  let  it  die.  They  have  guessed  and  argued 
many  things,  but  none  so  pretty  as  this  story  of 
hopeless  longing  and  death  <*  Addison  tells  this 
story,  in  his  usual  chaste  style,  in  the  Spectator, 
No.  233,  November  27,  1711,  with  a  rococo  turn 
to  it  about  Sappho's  being  metamorphosed  into  a 
swan  as  she  leaped  from  the  rock  *•*  He  says  also 
that  Alcaeus,  the  poet,  intended  to  take  the  leap 
for  love  of  Sappho,  on  the  same  day,  but  did  not 


28 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


when  he  heard  of  her  plunge.  Instead,  he  wrote 
an  ode,  his  hundred  and  twenty-fifth.  How  like  a 
poet — to  make  his  misery  into  "copy"!  But  how 
unpoetical!  As  un poetical,  almost,  as  the  efforts 
of  the  philologists  to  prove  that  none  of  these  fine, 
high  things  occurred  &&&&&&&& 
"Sappho,"  says  Wharton,  "seems  to  have  been  the 
center  of  a  society  in  Mitylene,  a  kind  of  aesthetic 
club  devoted  to  the  Muses.  Around  her  gathered 
maidens  from  even  comparatively  distant  places, 
attracted  by  her  fame,  to  study  under  her  guidance 
all  that  related  to  poetry  and  music;  much,  as,  at 
a  later  age,  students  resorted  to  the  philosophers 
of  Athens."  The  names  of  fourteen  of  her  girl 
friends  and  pupils  have  been  preserved.  To  many 
of  them  she  addressed  poems  breathing  such  pas 
sion  that  one  scarcely  wonders  at  the  blight  upon 
her  fame.  Whether  her  passion  was  pure  or  impure 
must  depend  upon  the  purity  or  impurity  of  the 
mind  deciding.  "To  the  pure  all  things  are  pure." 
Q  She  was,  as  the  legend  goes,  beautiful  in  body 
and  mind  ^  She  was  small  and  dark,  if  we  may 
believe  what  we  read  of  her.  She  had  "sweetness 
of  expression,"  as  witnesses  Alcaeus,  although  the 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


29 


commentators  will,  now  and  then,  translate  the 
Greek  for  this  quality  as  "with  violet  locks."  This, 
probably,  accounts  for  a  legend  that  she  was  red 
headed.  Of  her  beauty  naught  remains  but  the 
exquisite  charm  of  her  verse,  that  all  poets  have 
not  only  applauded  but  imitated.  The  ancients  use 
constantly  the  word  "beautiful"  in  referring  to 
her;  but  that  may  refer  only  to  her  works  &  Still, 
the  beauty  of  Lesbian  women  was  proverbial.  An 
ancient  drawing  of  her,  used  as  a  frontispiece  of 
Mr.  Mosher's  edition  of  Long  Ago,  by  Michael 
Field — being  paraphrased  elaborations  of  Sapphic 
fragments — is  so  archaic  that  it  suggests  nothing 
of  beauty;  is,  in  fact,  rather  repulsively  angular. 
The  picture  is  taken  from  a  vase  of  date  about 
420  B.  C.  An  archaic  head  of  Sappho,  on  the  cover 
of  the  same  volume,  is  taken  from  a  vase  now  in 
Paris.  It  is  almost  impossible  not  to  regard  it  as  a 
caricature.  The  best  picture  of  Sappho,  according 
to  Mr.  Wharton,  is  an  idealized  one  by  Alma 
Tadema,  exhibited  at  the  Royal  Academy  in 
1881.  An  etching  therefrom  is  frontispiece  to  Mr. 
Wharton's  book,  and  an  examination  of  it  reveals, 
to  the  present  writer's  thinking,  an  unpleasantly 


30 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


hard,  set  masculinity  of  the  features  &  There  is 
mention  of  her  bright  eyes  in  a  very  old  epigram 
and  elsewhere  she  is  called  "the  sweet  voiced," 
She  was  called  "the  Tenth  Muse,"  "the  flower  of 
the  Graces."  &  She  was  not  without  honor  in  her 
own  country.  Unfortunately,  her  perpetuation  in 
art  is  almost  altogether  infamous.  Of  the  pictures 
of  her  on  Greek  vases,  Mr.  Wharton  says,  "  One 
would  feel  more  content  if  one  had  not  seen  them." 
Some  of  them  are  in  the  style  of  unexhibited  pic 
tures  from  Pompeiian  walls  &  &  &  &  &  & 
"  Of  all  the  poets  of  the  world,"  says  Symonds, 
"Sappho  is  the  one  whose  every  word  has  a  pecu 
liar  and  unmistakable  perfume,  a  seal  of  absolute 
perfection  and  immutable  grace.  In  her  art  she 
was  unerring."  He  speaks  of  her  "exquisite  rarity 
of  phrase,"  and  only  echoes  the  praise  of  old  com 
mentators.  Catullus,  say  the  classicists,  is  the  only 
poet  comparable  with  her.  Sappho's  poems  were 
written  in  the  Aeolic  dialect,  which  had  a  peculiar 
charm  of  its  own,  somewhat,  I  suppose,  as  the 
dialect  of  cultured  Southerners  has  a  charm  to 
most  American  ears.  We  find  it  in  fact  in  the  verse 
of  Lanier  and  even  of  Timrod,  while  Maurice 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


31 


Thompson's  last  poem  was  a  rendition  of  two 
Sapphic  fragments  and  in  an  earlier  long  poem  he 
rendered  in  a  Southern  setting  a  great  number  of 
these  fragments.  Aeolic  was  naively  simple,  it  had 
no  rough  breathings;  there  were  no  dropping  of 
the  "h"  sounds,  no  hardnesses  ^  This  made  the 
Sapphic  verses  deliciously  singable  in  a  soft,  plaint 
ive  fashion  and  in  a  high  pitch  &  Her  poetry  was 
called  melic,  that  is,  honeyed,  and  as  Plato  defined 
it,  it  was  " compounded  out  of  these  three  things: 
speech,  music,  rhythm."  Her  verses  are  among  the 
earliest  form  of  what  we  now  know  as  the  song 
or  ballad  &<&•&&&&&&&&&& 
Swinburne  has  written  one  poem,  Anactoria,  em 
bodying  the  Sapphic  spirit  and  sentiment,  and  in 
a  note  thereon  he  "bears  witness  how,  more  than 
any  other's  her  verses  strike  and  sting  the  mem 
ory  in  lonely  places,  or  at  sea,  among  all  loftier 
sights  and  sounds — how  they  seem  akin  to  fire 
and  air,  being  themselves  'all  air  and  fire';  other 
elements  there  is  none  in  them  ^  Her  remaining 
verses  are  the  supreme  success,  the  final  achieve 
ment  of  poetic  art."  &  In  Anactoria,  Swinburne 
says  "he  has  simply  expressed,  or  tried  to  express, 


32  THELAWOFLOVE 

the  violence  of  affection  between  one  another 
which  hardens  into  rage  &  deepens  into  despair," 
and  has  added  thereto  "an  angry  appeal  against 
the  supreme  mystery  of  oppressive  heaven  at  that 
point  only  where  pleasure  culminates  in  pain, 
affection  in  anger  and  desire  in  despair — the  out 
come  of  a  foiled  and  fruitless  passion  recoiling  on 
itself."  All  of  Swinburne's  poetry  has  this  strain. 
One  might  think  Sappho  is  reincarnate  in  him  j& 
The  Sapphism  of  Swinburne  has  kept  from  him 
the  laurel  and  the  pipe  of  Malmsey  &  &  j*  j* 
In  Wharton's  book  every  fragment  of  Sappho's 
writing  is  preserved  and  translated  literally,  as 
well  as  given  in  the  best  poetic  paraphrases  extant 
These  fragments  are  often  mere  exclamations, 
such  as  "  Me  thou  f orgettest,"  "  Or  lovest  another 
more  than  me."  *<  There  are  hints  of  descriptions 
of  nature,  a  line  "  of  golden-sandalled  Dawn,"  a 
memory  of  an  old  orchard,  perhaps,  words  of 
yearning  and  sorrow,  an  echo  of  a  nightingale,  the 
perfume  of  otherwise  forgotten  springs  <&  They 
are  wonderful  for  their  perfection  of  phrase,  for 
their  pictorial  quality,  their  simplicity,  their  direct 
touch  upon  the  sensibility.  No  worldly  fame  rests 


THELAWOFLOVE  33 

upon  so  little,  and  is  withal  so  well-founded  *< 
The  beauty  of  the  remains  is  ravishing,  and  from 
"  this  pinch  in  the  fingers  of  scentless  and  delicate 
dust  "the  poets,  with  aspiring  imagination,  have 
vainly  tried  to  conceive  what  was  the  whole,  per 
fect  body  of  her  work.  The  sense  of  evanescence 
in  beauty  is  nowhere  else  so  poignantly  empha 
sized.  All  the  broken  music  combines  to  make  a 
perfect  minor  paean  of  pain  ************ 
The  note  of  Sappho's  fame  is  found  in  the  "  Ode 
to  Aphrodite."  ^  Upon  this  poem,  written  to  a 
woman  by  a  woman,  are  based  all  those  stories  of 
the  poet  that  Mr.  Wharton  characterizes  as  "calum 
nies."  This  poem  has  been  said  to  be  a  perfect 
description  of  love,  as  well  as  a  perfect  piece  of 
poetry.  A  literal  translation,  Mr.  Wharton's,  may 
be  given,  but  it  conveys  no  idea  of  the  poetry  or 
the  Greek:  ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

"  That  man  seems  to  me  peer  of  the  gods  who  sits  in  thy  presence, 
and  hears  close  to  him  thy  sweet  speech  and  lovely  laughter ;  that* 
indeed,  makes  my  heart  flutter  in  my  bosom.  For  when  I  see  thee  but 
a  little,  I  have  no  utterance  left,  my  tongue  is  broken  down  and  straight, 
way  a  subtle  fire  has  run  under  my  skin;  with  my  eyes  I  have  no 
sight,  my  ears  ring,  sweat  pours  down  and  a  trembling  seizes  my  body. 
I  am  paler  than  grass  and  seem  in  my  madness  little  better  than  one 
dead.  But  I  must  dare  all,  since  one  so  poor " 


34  THELAWOFLOVE 

And  the  lovely  music  breaks  off  thus  abruptly, 
exasperatingly ,  in  every  fragment  left  to  us,  only  to 
bring  out  more  piercingly  the  beauty  of  the  strain. 


GINX'S   BABY 


^  an  old  book  store  I  found, 
the  other  day,  a  little  book 
that  should  not  have  been 
forgotten  &  It  was  written 
more  than  thirty  years  ago, 
by  a  man  named  Jenkins,  an 
Englishman,  born  in  India, 
and  educated,  in  part,  in  the 
United  States.  The  name  of  the  book  is  Ginx's 
Baby;  His  Birth  and  Other  Misfortunes  J*  & 
With  the  remarkable  growth  of  altruism  or  human- 
itarianism  in  the  last  thirty  years,  with  the  appli 
cation  of  sincere  sympathy  as  one  of  the  possible 
solvents  of  the  mystery  of  misery,  it  is  strange  that 
this  book  should  have  passed  from  the  minds  of 
men.  The  book  is  a  true  satire.  That  is  to  say,  its 
irony  is  exercised  for  the  benefit  of  mankind.  The 
pessimism  of  the  story,  its  note  of  cynical  despair, 
is,  in  reality,  a  summons  to  man  to  do  better  by 
his  brother.  Underlying  its  bitterness  there  is  such 
a  gentleness  of  heart  as  must  uplift  the  reader's 
own  &&&&&&&&'&&&&& 
The  author  has  the  great  gift  of  humor,  which  all 
true  pessimists  possess,  and  none  more  than  Scho 
penhauer.  He  loves  humanity  though  he  scourges 
it.  He  loves,  above  all,  the  little  children,  whom 


38  THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 

Christ  loved,  as  typifying  the  heart  perfect  in  in 
nocence  &&&&&&&  &  &  &  j*  & 
Somewhat  the  quality  of  Dickens  is  in  his  method 
of  thought  and  his  turns  of  expression;  but  he  is 
not  the  evident  artist  that  Dickens  is.  He  does  not 
seek  opportunity  to  revel  in  mere  rhetoric  ^*  He 
goes  for  the  heart  of  his  subject  and  his  literary 
charms  are  displayed  quite  incidentally  to  his 
progress  in  that  direction  **  His  stylism  does  not 
clog  his  story  or  cumber  his  argument.  The  result 
is  that  he  produced  a  tract  of  the  Church  of  Man 
which  is  a  powerful  argument  for  a  realization  in 
Man  of  the  Church  of  God.  His  book  is  superbly 
human  and  Ginx's  Baby  deserves  immortality 
with  other  dream-children  of  good  men's  hearts 
and  minds  in  story  and  in  song  &  jt  &  &  & 
Room  for  Ginx's  Baby  in  the  gallery  of  undying 
children;  with  Marjorie  Fleming,  Sir  Walter's  "bon- 
nie,  wee  coodlin'  doo,"  with  Pater's  Child  in  the 
House,  with  Ouida's  Bebe,  with  Mrs.  Burnett's 
Fauntleroy,  with  Barrie's  Sentimental  Tommy, 
with  all  the  little  ones  in  the  books  of  Dickens 
and  the  poems  and  stories  of  Eugene  Field!  ^*  *< 
The  child  in  literature  is  something  new,  compara- 


THELAWOFLOVE  39 

tively.  We  need  more  of  the  effort  to  understand 
the  child  mind,  the  child  heart,  the  child  point  of 
view.  It  will  aid  us  to  develop  the  child,  if  once 
we  can  enter  his  world  and  come  into  sympathy 
with  his  impressions.  It  will  purify  ourselves,  this 
fresh,  new,  beautiful  world  of  the  child's ;  its  clear, 
pure  air  will  wash  clean  our  souls;  its  innocence 
of  doom  will  revive  our  hope.  The  child  is  a  soul 
fresh  from  God's  mint.  If  only  we  could  study  it 
more  we  might  regain,  from  the  contemplation, 
some  of  our  own  lost  innocence,  and,  when  we 
come  to  die,  go  to  our  Maker,  like  Thackeray's 
immortal  Colonel  Newcome,  with  our  hearts  "  as 
a  little  child's."  &&j*&j*J'j*&&& 
But  Ginx's  Baby  is  not  an  idyl.  It  is  a  tragedy.  It 
breathes  the  spirit  of  Malthus,  only  the  spirit  is 
transformed  into  one  of  pity  for  the  victim  of  life 
rather  than  one  of  concern  for  the  preservation 
of  the  nation.  We  are  not,  in  this  book,  the  victim 
of  the  baby.  The  baby  is  our  victim.  His  story  will 
illustrate  the  philosophy  better  than  any  attempt 
at  interpretation  and  the  humor  of  the  telling  only 
intensifies  the  tragedy  &<£•&&&<&&£• 
"  The  name  of  the  father  of  Ginx's  Baby  was  Ginx. 


40  THELAWOFLOVE 

By  a  not  unexceptional  coincidence,  its  mother  was 
Mrs.  Ginx.  The  gender  of  Ginx's  Baby  was  mas 
culine."  That  is  the  first  paragraph  of  the  book, 
and  there  you  have  a  hint  of  the  flippant  flavor; 
also  a  very  strong  suggestion  of  Charles  Dickens. 
The  hero  of  the  book  was  a  thirteenth  child  *< 
Ominously  humorous!  The  mother  previously  had 
distinguished  herself.  On  October  25th,  one  year 
after  marriage,  Mrs.  Ginx  was  safely  delivered  of  a 
girl  *<  No  announcement  of  this  appeared  in  the 
papers  &  On  April  10th,  following,  "the  whole 
neighborhood,  including  Great  Smith  Street,  Mar- 
sham  Street,  Great  and  Little  Peter  Street,  Regent 
Street,  Horsef  erry  Road,  and  Strutton  Ground,  was 
convulsed  by  the  report  that  a  woman  named  Ginx 
had  given  birth  to  a  triplet,  consisting  of  two  girls 
and  a  boy."  The  Queen  heard  of  it,  for  this  birth 
got  into  the  papers,  and  sent  the  mother  three 
pounds.  Protecting  infant  industry!  And  protec 
tion,  it  seems,  resulted  in  over-production;  for,  in 
a  twelvemonth,  there  were  triplets  again,  two  sons 
and  a  daughter.  Her  majesty  sent  four  pounds. 
The  neighbors  protested  and  began  to  manifest 
their  displeasure  uncouthly,  so  the  Ginx  family 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


41 


removed  into  Rosemary  Street,  where  the  tale  of 
Mrs.  Ginx's  offspring  reached  one  dozen  «*  Then 
Ginx  mildly  entered  protest  *<  If  there  were  any 
more,  singles,  twins  or  triplets,  he  would  drown 
him,  her,  or  them  in  the  water-butt  <&  This  was 
immediately  after  the  arrival  of  Number  Twelve. 
QHere,  under  the  chapter-heading  of  "Home, 
Sweet  Home,"  the  author,  still  reminiscent  of  Dick 
ens,  but  delightfully  compact  and  laconic,  describes 
the  miserable  dwelling  of  the  Ginx's,  with  a  bitter 
ness  of  humor  that  mocks  the  sentiment  of  Howard 
Payne's  song.  As  a  specimen  of  clean  realism,  this 
description  is  more  effective  than  anything  of 
Zola's;  for  Zola's  realism  is  idealism  gone  mad. 
The  squalor  of  the  slum  is  heightened  by  the 
associations  that  cling  to  the  name  Rosemary.  A 
bit  of  sermonizing  upon  the  responsibility  of  land 
lords  for  the  souls  in  that  slum,  and  the  author 
reverts  to  Ginx  and  his  family  &  ^  &  ^  j*  & 
"  Ginx  had  an  animal  affection  for  his  wife,  that 
preserved  her  from  unkindness  even  in  his  cups." 
You  thank  the  author  for  not  succumbing  to  real 
ism  and  making  Ginx  a  brute.  Ginx  worked  hard 
and  gave  his  wife  his  earnings,  less  sixpence,  with 


42 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


which  sum  he  retreated,  on  Sundays,  from  his 
twelve  children,  to  the  ale-house,  to  listen  sleepily 
while  ale-house  demagogues  prescribed  remedies 
for  State  abuses.  He  was  ignorant  of  policies  and 
issues;  simply  one  of  a  million  victims  of  the  theo 
ries  upon  which  statesmen  experiment  in  legisla 
tion  and  taxation.  He  was  one  of  many  dumb  and 
almost  unfeeling  "chaotic  fragments  of  humanity" 
to  be  hewn  into  shape  in  one  of  two  ways:  either 
by  "coarse  artists  seeking  only  petty  profit,  un 
handy,  immeasurably  impudent,"  or  by  instruction 
to  be  made  "  civic  corner-stones  polished  after  the 
similitude  of  a  palace."  He  was  appalled  by  the 
many  mouths  he  had  to  feed.  He  was  touched  by 
his  wife's  continuous  heroism  of  sacrifice  for  the 
children,  and  he  felt,  in  a  dim  fashion,  something 
of  an  intuition  of  "  her  unsatisfied  cravings  and 
the  dense  motherly  horrors  that  sometimes  brooded 
over  her  "  as  she  nursed  her  infants.  She  believed 
that  God  sends  food  to  fill  the  mouths  He  sends. 
She  had  been  able  to  get  along.  She  would  be  able 
to  get  along  &&&&&&&&&&& 
Ginx,  feeling  another  infant  straw  would  break 
his  back,  determined  to  drown  the  straw  ^  Mrs. 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


43 


Ginx,  clinging  to  Number  Twelve,  listened  aghast. 
"The  stream  of  her  affections,  though  divided 
into  twelve  rills,  would  not  have  been  exhausted 
in  twenty-four,  &  her  soul,  forecasting  its  sorrows, 
yearned  after  that  nonentity,  Number  Thirteen. 
Ginx  sought  to  comfort  her  by  the  suggestion  that 
she  could  not  have  any  more.  But  she  knew  better. 
Q  After  eighteen  months  the  baby  was  born  ** 
Ginx  thought  it  all  out  before  the  event  <&  "  He 
would  n't  go  on  the  parish,  jfi  He  could  n't  keep 
another  youngster  to  save  his  life  *<  He  would 
not  take  charity  *<  There  was  nothing  to  do  but 
drown  the  baby."  He  must  have  talked  his  inten 
tions  at  the  ale-house,  for  the  whole  neighborhood 
watched  Mrs.  Ginx's  "time"  with  interest.  Going 
home  one  afternoon,  he  saw  signs  of  excitement 
around  his  door.  He  entered.  He  took  up  the  little 
stranger  and  bore  it  from  the  room  &  "  His  wife 
would  have  arisen,  but  a  strong  power  called 
weakness  held  her  back."  Out  on  the  street,  with 
the  crowd  following  him,  Ginx  stopped  to  consider. 
"It  is  all  very  well  to  talk  about  drowning  your 
baby,  but  to  do  it  you  need  two  things — water  and 
opportunity."  He  turned  toward  Vauxhall  Bridge. 


44  THELAWOF 

The  crowd  cried  "Murder!"   &   #   &   &   &   & 

"  Leave  me  alone,  nabors,"  shouted  Ginx;  "this  is 

my  own  baby  and  I  '11  do  wot  I  likes  with  it.  I  kent 

keep  it  an'  if  I  've  got  anything  I  can't  keep,  it 's 

best  to  get  rid  of  it,  ain't  it  ?  This  child  's  going 

over  Vauxhall  Bridge." 

The  women  clung  to  his  arms  and  coat-tails.  A 

man  happened  along.  "A  foundling?  Confound 

the  place,  the  very  stones  produce  babies." 

"It  were  n't  found  at  all.  It's  Ginx's  baby,"  cried 

the  crowd. 

"Ginx's  baby.  Who 's  Ginx  ?  " 

"  I  am,"  said  Ginx. 

"Well?" 

"Well!" 

"He 's  going  to  drown  it!"  came  the  chorus. 

"Going  to  drown  it?  Nonsense!"  said  the  officer. 

"  I  am,"  said  Ginx. 

"But,  bless  my  heart,  that's  murder!" 

"No,  't ain't,"  said  Ginx.  "I've  twelve  already  at 

home.  Starvashon  's  shure  to  kill  this  'un  &  Best 

save  it  the  trouble." 

The  officer  declares  this  is  quite  contrary  to  law 

and  he  recites  the  law,  but  that  doesn't  affect 


THELAWOFLOVE  45 

Ginx.  He  fails  utterly  to  see  why,  if  Parliament 
will  not  let  him  abandon  the  child.  Parliament  does 
not  provide  for  the  child — for  all  the  other  twelve. 
The  officer  declares  that  the  parish  has  enough 
to  do  to  take  care  of  foundlings  and  children  of 
parents  who  can't  or  won't  work.  Says  Ginx:  "Jest 
so.  You  '11  bring  up  bastards  and  beggars'  pups, 
but  you  won't  help  an  honest  man  keep  his  head 
above  water.  This  child's  head  is  goin'  under  water 
anyhow ! "  and  he  dashed  for  the  bridge,  with  the 
screaming  crowd  at  his  heels  &  &  &  &  &  & 
A  philosopher  interposes  at  this  stage  with  a  query 
as  to  how  Ginx  came  to  have  so  many  children. 
Of  course  Ginx  has  to  laugh  «*  The  Philosopher 
urges  that  Ginx  had  no  right  to  bring  children 
into  the  world  unless  he  could  feed,  clothe  and 
educate  them,  and  Ginx  replies  that  he  'd  like  to 
know  how  he  could  help  it,  as  a  married  man.  The 
Philosopher  goes  over  the  old,  old  tale  of  rational 
ism  in  life.  Ginx  should  not  have  married  a  poor 
woman ;  should  not  have  gone  on  subdividing  his 
resources  by  the  increase  of  what  must  be  a  de 
generate  offspring ;  should  not  have  married  at  all. 
Q"Ginx's  face  grew  dark.  He  was  thinking  of 


46 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


'  all  those  years '  and  the  poor  creature  that  from 
morning  to  night  and  Sunday  to  Sunday,  in  calm 
and  storm,  had  clung  to  his  rough  affections ;  and 
the  bright  eyes  and  the  winding  arms  so  often 
trellised  over  his  tremendous  form,  and  the  coy 
tricks  &  laughter  that  had  cheered  so  many  tired 
hours.  He  may  have  been  much  of  a  brute,  but  he 
felt  that,  after  all,  that  sort  of  thing  was  denied 
to  dogs  and  pigs."  &&&&&&&&£• 
The  Philosopher  could  not  answer  these  thoughts 
nor  the  rejoinder  question  to  his  own :  what  is  a 
man  or  woman  to  do  that  does  n't  marry?  ^  <& 
And  so  the  argument  proceeds,  the  Philosopher 
losing  ground  all  the  time,  because  his  rationality 
is  based  upon  changing  man's  nature,  not  on  ma 
king  something  out  of  "  what 's  nateral  to  human 
beings."  The  Act-of -Parliament  idea  of  solving  the 
problem  is  riddled  effectively  by  a  stonemason, 
who  points  out  that  the  head-citizen  is  not  so 
worthy  as  the  heart-citizen.  In  brief,  the  Philoso 
pher  is  routed  by  the  doctrine  that  love  is  better 
than  law  &&&&&&&&&&&<£• 
Ginx  proceeds  to  the  river  again,  but  is  stopped 
by  a  nun  who  asks  for  the  child  &  He  gives  the 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


47 


bundle  to  her.  She  uncovers  the  queer,  ruby  face 
and  kisses  it  «*  After  this  Ginx  could  not  have 
touched  a  hair  of  the  child's  head  *•*  His  purpose 
dies,  but  his  perplexity  is  alive.  The  nun  takes  the 
child,  and  Ginx,  in  gratitude  for  her  assurance  that 
the  child  shall  not  be  sent  back  to  him,  stands 
treat  for  the  crowd  &&&&&&&&& 
The  child's  life  in  the  convent  is  material  for  some 
good  satiric  writing  upon  the  question  of  his  sal 
vation.  The  picture  is  absurdly  overdrawn,  so  far 
as  its  effectiveness  against  conventual  charity  is 
concerned,  but  it  touches  the  question  of  religious 
bigotry  surely  and  strongly.  Indeed,  the  method  of 
treatment  here  verges  closely  upon  the  Rabelais 
ian,  as  in  the  scene  in  which  the  Sisters  want  to 
make  the  sign  of  the  cross  upon  Mrs.  Ginx's 
breasts  before  allowing  the  baby  to  suck  *&  Mrs. 
Ginx  refused  the  "  Papish  idolaters,"  &  the  Prot 
estant  Detectoral  Association  is  brought  to  the 
rescue  of  the  child  from  superstition  &  &  &  & 
A  little  man  with  a  keen  Roman  nose — he  could 
scent  Jesuits  a  mile  off — took  up  the  cause  of  the 
child  and  it  got  into  court.  The  matter  became  a 
cause  celebre.  London  was  in  a  turmoil  over  "the 


48 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


Papal  abduction."  &  The  author  sketches  it  all 
graphically  with  a  convincing  fidelity  of  caricature. 
The  "  Sisters  of  Misery  "  triumphed.  They  retained 
the  baby.  Then,  after  attempting  to  sanctify  the 
baby — a  ceremony  wholly  imaginary  &  described 
with  a  smutch  of  revolting  coarseness — the  Sisters 
send  the  baby  packing  back  to  the  Protestant 
Detectoral  Association  &&&&&&&<£• 
The  Protestants  had  him;  but  the  Dissenters  pro 
tested  against  his  being  given  to  an  Anglican  ref 
uge.  The  scene  at  the  mass-meeting  to  celebrate 
young  Ginx's  rescue  from  the  incubus  of  a  delusive 
superstition  is  described  with  rare  appreciation  of 
the  foibles  of  character.  The  bombast,  the  cant, 
the  flapdoodle  and  flubdub,  the  silly  unction  of 
different  kinds  of  preachers  are  "  done  to  a  hair." 
Five  hours  the  meeting  raged,  and  at  last  a  reso 
lution  that  the  Metropolitan  pulpit  should  take 
up  the  subject  and  the  churches  take  up  a  collec 
tion  for  the  baby  on  the  next  Sunday  having  been 
passed,  the  meeting  adjourned — forgetting  all 
about  the  baby.  A  strange  woman  took  the  baby 
"for  the  sake  of  the  cause."  He  had  been  provided 
with  a  splendid  layette  by  an  enthusiastic  Protes- 


THELAWOFLOVE  49 

tant  Duchess  <&*&&«*  &«*jfi<&&t&jt 
Q  "  Some  hours  later,  Ginx's  Baby,  stripped  of  the 
Duchess'  beautiful  robes,  was  found  by  a  police 
man,  lying  on  a  doorstep  in  one  of  the  narrow 
streets  not  an  hundred  yards  "  from  the  meeting 
place.  "  By  an  ironical  chance  he  was  wrapped  in 
a  copy  of  the  largest  daily  paper  in  the  world." 
Q  The  baby  was  recovered  and  the  preachers 
"  praught."  The  collections  and  the  donations  and 
subscriptions  amounted  to  thirteen  hundred  and 
sixty  pounds,  ten  shillings  and  three  and  one-half 
pence.  How  the  money  was  spent  is  shown  in  a 
deliciously  absurd  balance-sheet  <&  Not  quite  one 
hundred  and  nine  pounds  were  spent  upon  the 
baby  «<  The  other  money  was  wasted  in  various 
forms  and  styles  of  "  guff."  "  In  an  age  of  luxury," 
says  the  baby's  biographer,  "we  are  grown  so 
luxurious  as  to  be  content  to  pay  agents  to  do  our 
good  deeds,  but  they  charge  us  three  hundred  per 
cent  for  the  privilege."  &&&&&&&& 
How  the  police  found  and  treated  the  baby  is  a 
chapter  full  of  subtle  sarcasm,  leading  up  to  the 
still  more  sarcastic  portrayal  of  the  way  the  baby 
fared  in  the  hands  of  the  Committee  appointed  to 


so  THELAWOFLOVE 

take  care  of  him.  He  was  like  to  be  torn  to  pieces 
between  contending  divines.  The  debates  in  Com 
mittee  are  illuminating  expositions  of  different 
varieties  of  bigotry.  His  body  was  almost  forgotten 
while  the  philanthropists  were  trying  to  decide 
what  to  do  with  his  soul  •**  Few  of  the  reverend 
gentlemen  "  would  be  content  unless  they  could 
seize  him  when  his  young  nature  was  plastic  and 
try  to  imprint  on  immortal  clay  the  trade-mark  of 
some  human  invention."  <&&&&&&& 
Twenty-three  meetings  of  the  Committee  were 
held  and  unity  was  as  far  off  at  the  last  as  at  the 
first.  The  Secretary  asked  the  Committee  to  pro 
vide  money  to  meet  the  baby's  liabilities,  but  the 
Committee  instantly  adjourned  and  no  effort  after 
wards  could  get  a  quorum  together.  The  persons 
who  had  charge  of  the  foundling  began  to  dun  the 
Secretary  and  to  neglect  the  child,  now  thirteen 
months  old.  They  sold  his  clothes  and  absconded 
from  the  place  where  they  had  been  "framing  him 
for  Protestantism."  ^  As  a  Protestant  question 
Ginx's  Baby  vanished  from  the  world  •*  «*>  J> 
Wrapped  in  a  potato  sack,  the  baby  was  found 
one  night  on  the  pavement  exactly  over  a  line 


THELAWOFLOVE  si 

dividing  two  parishes.  The  finder  was  a  business 
man.  He  noted  the  exact  spot  where  the  child 
lay  and  took  it  to — the  other  parish.  He  would 
not  be  taxed  for  its  support.  The  parish  guardians 
would  not  accept  the  child.  As  the  man  who  found 
the  child  was  a  guardian  of  the  other  parish,  he 
was  trying  to  foist  a  bastard — perhaps  his  own — 
upon  their  parish.  A  motion  was  made  to  "  get  rid 
of  the  brat."  "A  church  warden,  who  happened 
to  be  a  gentleman,"  suggested  the  services  of  a  law 
yer.  The  brutality  of  the  guardians  as  they  exam 
ined  and  discussed  the  child  is  depicted  with  ter 
rible  power.  The  lawyer  says  the  Board  will  have 
to  take  the  baby  pro  tern  or  "  create  an  unhappy 
impression  on  the  minds  of  the  public."  &  &  & 
"Damn  the  public!"  said  Mr.  Stink,  a  dog-breeder 
member  of  the  Board,  thus  antecedently  plagiar 
izing  an  American  millionaire.  The  parish  accepts 
the  baby  under  protest  and  a  formal  written  pro 
test  addressed  to  the  baby,  name  unknown,  is 
pinned  on  the  potato  sack.  The  two  parishes  go  to 
law  about  the  child.  Neither  wishes  to  take  care  of 
it.  At  Saint  Bartemeus'  workhouse,  a  notice  was 
posted  forbidding  the  officials,  assistants  and 


52  THELAWOFLOVE 

servants  to  enter  the  baby's  room,  pendente  lite, 
or  to  render  it  any  service  or  assistance  on  pain 
of  dismissal.  The  baby  was  nigh  starvation.  The 
master  of  the  workhouse  stealthily  fed  him  on 
pap,  saying  as  he  did  so,  "  Now,  youngster,  this  is 
without  prejudice,  remember!  I  give  you  due 
notice — without  prejudice/'  &  J>  &  &  &  & 
The  baby  became  ilL  A  nobleman  discovered  him 
and  laid  his  case  before  a  magistrate.  The  papers 
made  a  sensation  of  the  baby's  case.  There  was  a 
terrific  hullabaloo.  An  inquiry  was  held  **  The 
guardians  became  furious.  "The  reports  of  their 
proceedings  read  like  the  vagaries  of  a  lunatic 
asylum  or  the  deliberations  of  the  American  Sen 
ate."  They  discharged  the  kindly  master.  The  baby 
was  locked  in  a  room.  Food  was  passed  to  him  on 
a  stick  <&  The  inquiry  was  denounced  and  the 
bewildered  public  gnashed  its  teeth  at  everybody 
who  had  anything  to  do  with,  or  say  of,  Ginx's 
Baby.  "  At  last  St.  Bartemeus'  parish  had  to  keep 
him,  and  the  guardians,  keeping  carefully  within 
the  law,  neglected  nothing  that  could  sap  little 
Ginx's  vitality,  deaden  his  instincts,  derange  moral 
action,  cause  hope  to  die  within  his  infant  breast 


THELAWOFLOVE  53 

almost  as  soon  as  it  was  born/'  Every  pauper  was 
to  them  an  obnoxious  charge  to  be  reduced  to  a 
minimum  or  nil  **  The  baby's  constitution  alone 
prevented  his  reduction  to  nil  &  &  ^  &  &  & 
The  bill  of  costs  against  St  Bart  emeus  was  sixteen 
hundred  pounds.  Just  as  it  was  taxed,  one  of  the 
persons  who  had  deserted  Ginx's  Baby  was  arrest 
ed  for  theft  **  The  Baby's  clothes,  given  by  the 
Duchess,  were  found  in  this  person's  possession. 
She  confessed  all  about  the  baby  and  so  the  guar 
dians  traced  the  baby's  father  and  delivered  to 
Ginx,  through  an  agent,  the  famous  child,  with  the 
benediction — "There  he  is;  damn  him!"  &  ^  & 
Mrs.  Ginx  could  n't  recognize  the  baby  &  His 
brothers  and  sisters  would  have  nothing  to  do 
with  him.  Ginx  denied  him.  Ginx  took  the  baby 
out  one  night,  left  it  on  the  steps  of  a  large  build 
ing  in  Pall  Mall,  and  slunk  away  out  of  the  pages 
of  "  this  strange,  eventful  history."  ^  The  baby 
piped.  The  door  of  the  house,  a  club,  opened  and 
the  baby  was  taken  in.  It  was  the  Radical  Club, 
but  it  was  as  conservative  as  could  be  in  its  recep 
tion  of  the  waif.  It  was  only  a  perfunctory  kind 
liness  that  the  club  gave  him  shelter.  The  Fogey 


54  THELAWOFLOVE 

Club  heard  of  the  baby  and  bethought  itself  of 
making  campaign  material  of  him  •**  The  Fogies 
instructed  their  "organ  "to  dilate  upon  the  dis 
graceful  apathy  of  the  Radicals  toward  the  found 
ling.  The  Fogies  kidnaped  the  baby;  the  Radicals 
stole  him  back  &  The  baby  was  again  a  great 
"question."  However,  other  questions  supervened, 
although  it  was  understood  that  Sir  Charles  Ster 
ling  was  "  to  get  a  night "  to  bring  up  the  case  of 
Ginx's  Baby  in  Parliament  &  Associations  were 
formed  in  the  metropolis  for  disposing  of  Ginx's 
Baby  by  expatriation  or  otherwise.  A  peer  sud 
denly  sprung  the  matter  by  proposing  to  send  the 
baby  to  the  Antipodes  at  the  expense  of  the  Nation. 
The  question  was  debated  with  elaborate,  stilted 
stultitude  and  the  noble  lord  withdrew  his  motion. 
Q  The  baby  tired  of  life  at  the  clubs.  He  borrowed 
some  clothes,  some  forks,  some  spoons,  without 
leave,  and  then  took  his  leave.  No  attempt  was 
made  to  recover  him.  He  was  fifteen.  "He  pitted 
his  wits  against  starvation."  He  found  the  world 
terribly  full  everywhere  he  went.  He  went  through 
a  career  of  penury,  of  honest  and  dishonest  call 
ings,  of  captures,  escapes  and  recaptures,  impris- 


THELAWOFLOVE  55 

onments  and  other  punishments.  Q  Midnight  on 
Vauxhall  Bridge!  &  The  form  of  a  man  emerged 
from  the  dark  and  outlined  itself  against  the  haze 
of  the  sky.  There  was  a  dull  flash  of  a  face  in  the 
gloom.  The  shadow  leaped  far  out  into  the  night. 
Splash!  **  "Society  which,  in  the  sacred  names 
of  Law  &  Charity,  forbade  the  father  to  throw  his 
child  over  Vauxhall  Bridge,  at  a  time  when  he  was 
alike  unconscious  of  life  &  death,  has  at  last  driven 
him  over  the  parapet  into  the  greedy  waters."  &  & 
The  questions  of  the  book  I  have  condensed  here 
are  as  alive  to-day  as  are  thousands  of  other 
Ginx's  babies  in  all  our  big  cities.  While  philan 
thropists  and  politicians,  priests  and  preachers, 
men  and  women  theorize  about  the  questions,  the 
questions  grow  "  more  insoluble/'  What  is  to  be 
done,  is  the  first  question.  How  it  is  to  be  done 
is  a  question  which  is  secondary  and  its  discussion 
is  useless  until  the  first  is  settled.  Too  much  State 
drove  Ginx's  Baby  into  the  Thames  ^  What 's 
everybody's  business  is  nobody's  business.  If  the 
uncountable  babies  of  innumerable  Ginxs  are  to 
be  aided,  some  one  must  aid  them  for  the  mere 
pleasure  there  is  in  loving-kindness.  Q  A  baby  is 


56  THELAWOFLOVE 

a  human  being,  not  a  problem.  A  baby  can't  be 
explained  away  by  pure  reason,  because  he  did 
not  come  by  that  route.  Love  brought  him  here 
and  only  Love  can  nourish  him  to  the  fullness  of 
growth  in  soul  and  mind.  True,  many  come  who, 
seemingly,  were  better  drowned  like  surplus  pup 
pies  or  kittens.  But  who  shall  select  those  to  sur 
vive?  Grecian  wisdom  once  attempted  to  improve 
on  "  natural  selection  "  and  Greece  is  the  ghost  of 
a  vanished  glory  ^  Why  should  n't  Ginx  have 
drowned  his  baby — or  himself — before  the  multi 
plication  in  the  result  of  which  the  baby  was  a  unit? 
Q  I  don't  know  why,  unless  because  there  is,  in 
every  life,  even  the  most  successful,  apparently, 
enough  of  unhappiness  and  failure  and  emptiness 
to  justify,  at  a  given  moment,  a  "  leap  in  the  dark." 
This  logic  of  suicide  would  annihilate  the  race.  The 
unwelcome  baby  may  be  the  best.  Life  must  try  us 
all  •£*  Those  who  do  not  stand  the  test  disappear. 
Their  own  weaknesses  eliminate  them.  Myriads 
must  fail  that  a  few  may  succeed  a  very  little  &  & 
Ginx  at  least  owed  his  baby  reparation  for  bring 
ing  about  the  first  misfortune,  his  birth.  Ginx  was 
a  sophist.  His  mercy  of  murder  for  the  child  was 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


57 


regard  for  himself.  His  reasoning  was  right.  His 
heart  was  full  of  self  and,  ergo,  wrong.  Ginx  sur 
rendered  before  the  fight  was  fought.  So  did  the 
baby.  There  is  nothing  for  it,  my  good  masters, 
but  a  fight  to  a  finish.  Yes,  even  though  Birnam 
Wood  come  to  Dunsinane,  still  must  we  fight,  like 
Macbeth,  and  all  the  more  valiantly  for  that  we 
know  our  sins  are  heavy  upon  our  heads  &  hearts. 
"  Courage,  my  comrades,  the  devil  is  dead,"  said 
Denys  of  Burgundy.  But  there  is  a  greater  cour 
age  my  comrades:  it  is  fighting  the  devil  who 
never  dies,  until  the  devil  in  us  all  shall  die.  This 
is  not  the  courage  of  despair,  but  of  hope  and 
faith  that  by  conquest  of  ourselves  shall  Evil  be 
slain,  though  only  in  a  fair,  far  time  and  by  crores 
of  deaths  of  us  and  of  our  kind.  That  is  why  the 
book  Ginx's  Baby  is  false  in  its  demonstration 
that  it  had  been  better  if  the  "hero "had  been 
thrown  off  the  bridge  at  first.  Its  philosophy  is  the 
philosophy  of  the  "  quitter.**  The  only  courage  is 
to  endure  &&&&&&&&&&&& 
And  what  shall  we  do  for  the  Ginx's  babies  so 
multitudinous  in  their  misery  ?  &  These,  too,  we 
must  endure.  It  were  well  to  love  them  a  little  as 


58 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


babies  and  not  to  discuss  them  so  much  as  "ques 
tions."  &  It  were  well  if  there  were  a  little  more 
individual  charity;  a  good  deal  less  of  the  kind 
described  by  Boyle  O'Reilly  as  conducted  "  in  the 
name  of  a  cautious,  statistical  Christ"  &  If  every 
one  would  do  a  little  good  for  the  poor,  the  unfor 
tunate,  the  afflicted,  the  sum  of  all  our  doings 
would  be  a  great  deal  of  good  <&  Take  a  penny 
from  every  person  in  the  United  States  and  give 
it  to  one  man  and  he  has  seven  hundred  thousand 
dollars  &  Every  Ginx's  baby  in  any  land  can  be 
helped  somewhat,  and  Ginx  himself  must  do  his 
share  to  the  full  limit  of  his  capacity  for  doing. 
We  cannot  save  them  all;  cannot  make  their  lives 
successes.  Success  is  the  sum  of  many  failures.  A 
million  seeds  must  die  that  one  rose  may  bloom. 
You  or  I  may  be  the  means,  in  part,  of  saving  one 
child  from  the  plunge  of  Vauxhall  Bridge  or  thro' 
the  gallows-trap.  And  one  is  worth  while.  That  is 
the  way  to  "look  out  for  number  one."  Individual 
effort  for  individuals  is  the  true  humanitarianism. 
Lift  up  the  person  nearest  you  who  is  in  need  of 
assistance.  Bend  to  him  and  feel  your  own  stature 
increase  by  so  much  as  you  uplift  him  *<*<** 


THE    TWO    EAGLETS 

MAUDE  ADAMS  AND  SARA  BERNHARDT 


E  is  a  woman  of  the  stage 
whose  every  movement, 
glance,  tone,  smile  or  tear, 
proclaims  that  woman  is  a 
thing  for  honor,  not  vile  use. 
There  is  no  suggestion  of 
musk  arising  at  the  mention 
of  her  name  &  There  is  no 
association  of  her  in  thought  with  absinthe  or 
creme-de-menthe  &&&&&&&&& 
The  tragic  touch  is  on  her  face,  but  it  is  not  the 
tragedy  of  the  fleshly  passion,  nor  the  worse 
tragedy  of  chill  genius  simulating  passion.  There 
is  that  in  her  face  that  makes  you  glad  she  is  not 
a  beauty.  It  is  a  yearning  face,  soft,  pure,  inno 
cent,  yet  of  an  unearthly  sapiency  withal.  With 
some  such  face  the  Blessed  Damozel  might  have 
looked  out  from  heaven,  the  while  the  holy  fervor 
in  her  breast "  made  the  bar  she  leaned  on  warm." 
'T  is  a  holy  wistf  ulness  in  her  glance,  and  the  trist- 
fulness  of  her  voice  is  of  little  children  crying, 
lonely,  lost  in  some  daedal  night.  Her  smile  is  full 
of  a  charm  of  sadness  that  is  older  than  the  world 
— the  sadness  of  unfinished  things,  of  foiled  hopes, 
of  vanished  dreams.  Just  a  shade  here,  there,  on 
her  lip  or  cheek,  and  the  smile  transmutes  to 


62 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


tears  ^  Just  a  hint  of  a  tone  here,  there,  in  her 
laughter,  and  it  is  the  cry  of  youth  whose  soul  is 
torn  out  with  its  illusions  and  trampled  on  by  Fact 
and  Fate.  Is  she  playful — it  is  with  a  melancholy 
undertone.  In  I  know  not  what  manner  this  woman 
— perhaps  I  should  call  her  girl — never  fails  to 
make  me  think  of  old  roses,  old  songs,  old  land 
scapes,  that  I  saw  and  knew  under  circumstances 
pleasant,  but  now  sad  in  remembrance  &  &  & 
Something  about  her  ever  brings  back  to  mind 
the  fact  that  there  is  in  life  and  in  memory  a 
"  bitterness  of  things  too  sweet."  «2*  There 's  an 
ancient  atmosphere  about  her,  as  if  she  were 
some  creature  many  million  years  young,  joyous 
while  endeavoring  to  hide  some  wondrous  secret. 
Her  simplicity  is  so  rare  and  fine  that  you  scarce 
can  help  feeling  that  she  is  untrammeled  by  even 
original  sin  «*  The  pathetic  note  about  her  is  the 
same  thing  we  feel  when  we  see  a  "  little  white 
hearse  go  glimmering  by."  ^  Youth  and  eld  are 
strangely  intimated  in  her  glance.  She  is  a  child 
— and  yet  the  antique  flavor  is  in  her  childishness, 
as  if  she  had  somehow  come  down  to  us  untouched, 
untainted  by  time  from  some  wide,  wild,  open, 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


63 


woodland  place  of  the  classical  world,  wherein 
one  walking  might  easier  meet  a  god  or  a  goddess 
than  a  man  or  a  woman  &  This  feeling  that  you 
have  before  her,  under  her  spell,  is  an  eerie  one, 
but  not  unpleasant ;  not  more  so,  in  any  event, 
than  is  the  emotion  that  arises  at  remembrance 
of  especially  delectable  days  in  one's  own  vanished 
youth.  I  care  not  whether  she  be  in  one  of  her 
histrionic  flights — always  there  is  that  quaint  sug 
gestion  of  her  intimate  relationship  to  something 
young  and  sweet  and  pure,  a  great  while  since, 
a  long,  long  time  ago.  The  personal  charm  is  all- 
pervasive.  It  is  child-like,  and  yet  so  worldly-wise 
and  worldly-weary.  It  is  essentially  spiritual — a 
quality  I  recollect  never  to  have  felt  or  observed 
in  any  other  woman  of  the  footlights.  She  reminds 
you  of  the  woman  you  love — and  of  that  woman 
as  you  most  love  to  think  of  her, — as  a  little  girl, 
though  with,  too,  her  later  womanly  charms. 
Q  This  is  n't  genius — say  you  ?  &  Well,  what  is 
genius,  anyhow  ?  Whatever  it  be,  Maude  Adams 
lifts  you  out  of  your  work-a-day  self  into  your 
better  self,  makes  you  forget  and  remember  and 
dream  &  live  in  a  hidden,  inner  world  of  romance. 


64 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


Rostand's  poetry  falls  as  naturally  from  her  lips 
as  Shakespeare's  from  Rosalind's  or  Imogen's. 
As  the  Due  de  Reichstadt  she  is  as  bewitchingly 
elf -like  as  in  her  impersonation  of  Babbie.  There 
is  a  pagan  freshness  in  her  movements  and  words, 
a  sincerity  of  abandon  that  is  of  the  early  world. 
And  on  her,  mysteriously,  is  the  doom  of  things 
too  fair.  In  her  indecision,  in  her  passionateness 
of  protest  against  her  own  weakness,  in  her  an 
guished  recognition  of  herself  as  a  sacrifice,  im 
molated  in  expiation  of  glory,  in  that  wild  scene 
of  the  smashed  mirror  as  in  the  unearthly  vision 
on  the  field  of  Wagram,  we  find  the  primal  emo 
tions  of  the  world  bodied  forth,  paler  and  weaker 
than  we  find  them,  perhaps,  in  Hamlet  or  Lear, 
but  as  they  well  might  express  themselves  in  a 
boy  whose  great  soul  burned  out  his  puny  body. 
Over  all  the  storm  and  stress  lingers  the  beauty 
that  the  Great  White  Plague  so  often  vouchsafes 
its  victim.  The  glamour  that  coming  death  casts 
upon  a  fading  world  plays  around  all  the  tragedy. 
It  is  the  assassination  of  youth  by  Fate,  but 
tempered  with  whiffs  of  Parma  violets,  and  the 
thunders  of  cannon  translated  into  the  humming 


THELAWOFLOVE  es 

of  the  imperial  bees.  The  episode  of  the  tryst — 
softly — it  is  as  pure  in  her  treatment  as  the  old 
tale  of  Aucassin  and  Nicolete.  The  sense  of  a 
strange  purification  steals  over  one,  as  the  boy 
advances  to  the  ordained  end.  The  drama  suggests 
the  clearness  of  eyes  that  have  but  recently  known 
tears,  the  clearness  of  a  summer  day  after  an  af 
ternoon  rain.  And  her  voice  carries  unique  tones, 
tones  that  might  be  in  sorrow  and  anguish  the 
waitings  of  those  infants  a  span  long,  which  Jon 
athan  Edwards  was  glad  to  think  were  multitudi 
nous  in  hell — tones,  again,  that  might  be  the  joy 
of  the  trees  and  flowers  in  growing,  or  the  mur 
mur  of  streams  of  their  joy  of  flowing  j*  &  & 
The  fire  of  her  is  the  flame  that  burns  in  the 
autumn  leaf — not  fierce,  but  ineffably,  warmly 
tender.  It  is  a  fire  that  seems  to  feed  upon  tears. 
It  is  a  dream-fire,  in  some  of  its  aspects.  And  the 
piteous  ineffectiveness  of  the  genius  of  the  Eaglet! 
It  is  genius,  but  in  the  grasp  of  death.  The  very 
nobility  of  the  aspiration  is  conveyed  with  a  sec 
ond  intention  of  irony.  The  Adams  L'Aiglon  is  as 
beautifully  sad,  as,  let  us  say,  the  minor  legends  of 
of  the  Arthurian  cycle — and  as  far  away  ^  The 


66  THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 

remoteness  of  the  Eaglet's  dreams,  the  unworldli- 
ness  that  f  utilizes  his  ambition,  the  supreme  ideali 
zation  of  his  father  and  the  angelic  intent  of  his 
desire  for  a  throne — all  these  things  show  the 
Adams  Eaglet  to  be,  as  undoubtedly  he  is,  a  purely 
poetical  conception.  It  is  not  real,  not  true.  It  is  all 
a  splendid,  poetic  vision.  The  real  Due  de  Reich- 
stadt  is  not  portrayed  by  Maude  Adams,  not  a  real 
boy  even.  What  she  gives  us  is  L'Aiglon,  the  crea 
ture  of  Rostand's  fancy  in  its  most  exalted  mood  of 
worshipful  idealization  of  a  mere  scrap  of  story. 
Q  All  the  poetry  of  youth,  all  the  poetry  of  the  fail 
ure  to  make  dream  mate  with  deed,  all  the  poetry 
of  piteous  legend  twining  around  a  mighty  name, 
all  the  poetry  of  what  Napoleon  was,  filtered  thro* 
Austria  and  Spain  and  the  Escurial,  all  the  poetry 
of  the  dynamic  diluted  by  contemplative  doubt, 
all  the  poetry  of  a  child-of -fancy  set  in  a  colorful 
reproduction  of  great  history — all  this  is  Maude 
Adams'  Eaglet  J.&&&&&&&&J' 
It  is  great — great  in  its  pureness,  in  its  irony,  in 
its  flashes  of  flickering  failing  fire,  in  its  implied 
reproach  of  the  great  legend  it  glorifies,  in  its 
totality  of  impression  upon  us  that  all  is  vanity 


THELAWOFLOVE  67 

and  glory,  perhaps,  more  vain  than  aught  else. 
Q  Maude  Adams  is  the  Eaglet  because  she  is  of 
the  spirit  allied  to  the  genius  of  Rostand.  She  is 
of  the  child-kind  and  woman-kind,  unsullied  by 
the  blasphemies  of  French  artistry,  in  search  of 
experience  to  enable  interpretation  of  passion. 
Maude  Adams'  art  comes  from  her  soul,  not  from 
bodily  experience.  She  creates  a  world  for  herself, 
and  it  is  a  world  beautiful  with  the  beauty  of  the 
soul  from  which  it  springs.  She  is  spring  violets 
and  droning  bees,  and  dreams  and  tender  histo 
ries  of  motherless  bairns.  And  so  with  the  mother- 
heart  of  the  girl,  who  is  maternal  without  under 
standing  her  instinct,  she  enters  into  the  heart 
and  soul  of  L'Aiglon  and  lives  him  for  us  in  a 
few  ail-too  brief  hours,  just  as  that  pale,  piteous 
boy  lives  in  the  red-golden  poetry  of  Rostand. 


SARA 


iE  is  with  us  again — the 
most  wonderful  woman  in 
the  world — the  Bernhardt — 
anarch  and  artist.  Think  of 
it!  She  is  the  one  conspicu 
ous  woman  to  whom  every 
thing  is  forgiven.  She  is  the 
one  woman  who  has  with 
stood  the  caricaturist,  the  satirist,  the  lampoonist. 
She  is  the  one  woman  who  has  been  allowed  to 
grow  old  without  irreverent  notice.  She  has  defied 
all  the  conventions,  and  the  conventions  have 
obliterated  themselves  in  her  behalf.  Her  sins  are 
peccadilloes.  Tradesmen  have  been  honored  that 
she  owed  them  money.  She  has  given  immortality 
to  nonentities,  for  that  she  loved  them  for  a  day. 
She  has  rehabilitated  the  courtesan  in  the  estima 
tion  of  the  public.  She  has  deliberately  glorified 
passion  as  passion  for  years  upon  years.  She  has 
devoted  a  life  to  emphasizing  the  panther  in  the 
gentler  sex.  Admirably,  too,  has  she  played  the 
charlatan.  The  secret  of  advertising  has  been  hers. 
Her  love-affairs  have  been  the  best  sort  of  puffery 
for  her.  She  has  been  a  stupendous  pretender  to 
many  things — to  mysticism,  to  scholarship,  to 
political  intrigue,  even  to  virtue.  She  has  multi- 


72  THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 

plied  her  genius  by  her  pretension  until  her  fame 
has  filled  the  Seven  Climes.  She  has  asserted  her 
ego  so  insistently  that,  for  her  sake,  all  standards 
were  abolished  save  those  of  her  own  making. 
She  has  been  a  queer  admixture,  as  she  has  design 
edly  projected  herself  upon  her  time,  of  the  virago, 
the  vestal  and  the  vampire.  She  has  been  willful 
and  wicked  and  winsome  and  wise,  but  always 
with  the  public  in  the  tail  of  her  eye  <&  She  has 
been  always  opulent,  in  the  way  of  her  race,  and 
yet  parsimonious  while  spendthrift.  She  has  had 
no  respect  for  anything  but  the  press.  Her  art — 
why  her  art  is  nothing, — but  herself  ^  She  is 
supremely  clever.  She  has  always  maintained  in 
Paris  a  staff  of  friends  who  have  been  telling  us 
this  for  so  long  that  we  must  believe  it  &  &  & 
The  Bernhardt  has  brains  and,  perhaps,  some 
heart,  though  she  calls  a  son  an  accident  d9 
amour  ^  The  Bernhardt  has  been  the  best  bam- 
boozler  of  the  public  that  her  sex  has  produced. 
Well  did  Marie  Colonibier  characterize  her  when 
she  christened  her  Sara  Barnum,  in  a  mythical 
biography,  now  forgotten.  The  people  like  to  be 
fooled.  Therefore  Bernhardt  fooled  them.  Years 


THELAWOFLOVE  73 

agone  she  had  her  photograph  taken,  sleeping  in 
a  coffin.  She  has  claimed  to  be  a  painter.  She  even 
professes  piety,  Christian  piety,  tho'  in  her  heart 
the  law  of  Moses  has  not  been  superseded.  Yes; 
she  hesitates  not  to  affect  the  saintly,  and  at  the 
same  time  when  asked  what  she  would  suggest 
for  an  Eleventh  Commandment,  she  said,  with  the 
weary  air  of  one  who  had  broken  them  all,  "  there 
are  ten  too  many  already."  &  •&  <&•  &  &  jt> 
Sara  has  been  ever  daring.  Her  daring  has  borne 
her  to  the  heights  of  glory.  She  has  never  hesi 
tated  to  do  that  which  boomed  her.  She  even  had 
Jean  Richepin  show  the  scratches  she  gave  him 
in  love-spats,  to  his  friends  in  the  Paris  cafes.  She 
had  Richepin,  her  actual  lover,  appear  upon  the 
stage  and  act  as  a  stage  lover  in  Nana  Sahib, 
when  all  Paris  knew  the  standing  of  the  pair  and 
that  the  acting  was  the  real  thing  «*  She  has 
quarreled  with  everybody,  and  has  made  every 
quarrel  count  as  an  "  ad."  &  She  has  defied  the 
French  government.  She  has  even  defied  French 
critics  who  wanted  more  subsidy  than  she  would 
or  could  disgorge  .3*  e^  «/*  j*  *<******«* 
Men  who  have  sworn  over  their  absinthe  or  bock 


74 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


that  she  was  as  ugly  as  sin  have,  within  the  hour, 
declared  her  more  beautiful  than  Cypris  «*  Men 
have  said  of  her  art  that  it  was  strop  de  cadavre 
— juice  of  the  corpse — our  "  rotten  "  raised  to  the 
nth  power — and  within  the  fortnight  have  written 
of  her  such  raptures  that  the  writers  seemed  evap 
orating  in  voluptuous  ecstasies.  Men  professedly 
hating  her  have  groveled  at  her  feet.  Men  have 
loved  her  and  were  silent.  All  except  Rochef ort, 
whose  mot,  when  challenged  by  her  son,  is  immor 
tal.  She  has  been  said  to  be  the  meanest  of  misers, 
and  these  who  have  said  so  have  said  at  other 
times  that  she  was  benevolence  incarnate  ^  ** 
Votaress  of  Love,  she  has  been  accused  of  loving 
nobody  but  Love,  and  that  Love,  herself.  She  is 
an  enigma.  She  has  admitted  this,  but  only  to  the 
extent  of  saying  she  is  an  enigma  to  herself  & 
She  says  that  in  all  her  great  roles  she  is  at  once 
the  character  portrayed  and  her  own  self.  She 
professes  to  disdain  effort  in  her  effects,  and  yet 
she  boasts  that  she  works  like  a  slave  <&  But  the 
contrasts  and  antitheses  in  her  character  might  be 
enumerated  ad  infinitum,  and  evermore  the  im 
pression  would  recur  that  these  contrasts  and 


THELAWOFLOVE  75 

contradictions  are  Bernhardt.  You  can't  explain 
her  *<  She  simply  is,  as  Elbert  Hubbard  said  of 
Shakespeare.  You  can  not  always  tell  what  it  is 
she  does  on  the  stage.  You  never  can  tell  how  she 
does  it.  Never  have  I  seen  her  on  the  stage  that  I 
did  n't  think  involuntarily  of  Pater's  rhapsody 
over  Da  Vinci's  Mono  Lisa,  or  after  the  play  was 
over,  of  the  head  of  Medusa.  There 's  an  esoteric 
atmosphere  of  the  macabre  about  her  that  seems 
revenant — something  that  has  come  back  to  earth 
after  seeing  hidden  things.  You  '11  note  it  in  every 
thing  she  does,  from  Phaedre  to  L'Aiglon,  even 
in  her  Hamlet,  in  which  she  comes  perilously  close 
to  burlesque.  This  little  preter-human  flavor  about 
her  is  what  has  captured  the  world, — that  and  the 
lithe  orientalism,  semitism  of  her,  the  something 
luscious  that  suggests  to  you  the  cedars  of  Leba 
non,  the  lips  that  drop  of  honeycomb.  She  is  rapt 
in  concern  with  her  inscrutable  self.  Her  voice — 
it  calls  to  you  from  strange  waste  places  outside 
the  world  ^  It  mumbles  things  deifying  all  that 
civilization  now  deems  diabolic  *£  At  times,  in 
passion,  it  is  like  the  inarticulate  cry  of  wild  beasts. 
Again  it  is  the  sleep-speech  of  one  satiate  of  passion 


76 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


yet  restlessly  dreaming  of  new,  weird,  immane 
amours  &&&£•£•£•&&<£•£•&& 
She  speaks  to  us  of  love,  ever  of  love  as  the  fun 
damental  thing  of  life,  but  it  is  of  that  love  that 
the  world  has  worn  itself  sad  trying  to  forget,  the 
love  that  was  the  one  thing  in  the  pagan  world, 
love  that  ignored  soul,  love  that  no  one  now  dares 
write  about  but  Pierre  Louys.  It  is  this  absence  of 
soul  that  makes  her  Reichstadt,  like  her  Hamlet, 
uncannily  unsatisfying  to  us.  We  are  not  pagans, 
like  her  adoring  Parisians  &  &  j*  <&«*,&<& 
But  she  is  she,  and  we  must  accept  her.  Those  who 
most  strenuously  deny  her,  thereby  assert  her. 
She  is  as  new  and  as  old  as  dawn  *<  She  is  the 
negation  of  herself  and  the  affirmation  of  all 
blasphemies  against  her.  She  is  the  accomplice 
of  the  World,  the  Flesh  and  the  Devil  jfi  She  is 
Intellect  and  Passion  intercorrupting  each  other 
and  combining  to  cast  a  corpse-light  over  Art. 
She  scorns  the  mob  she  caters  to.  She  makes  light 
of  her  own  genius.  She  commercializes  her  ideal 
ism  as  grossly  as  if  she  were  a  money-lender.  She 
idealizes  her  commercialism,  as  if  she  were  Mark 
Hanna.  She  is  great,  but  so  confusedly  polyhedric 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


77 


as  to  prevent  complete  conception  of  her  person 
ality  «*  She  is  tender  and  hard,  wise  and  foolish, 
sincere  and  deceptive,  a  saint  of  sin  and  a  sinner 
in  the  name  of  piety  £•<£•£•£•£•£•&& 
She  is  a  woman  whose  womanliness  is  huge, 
misshapen  vast,  without  circumference,  shifting- 
centered,  elemental.  She  inspires  at  once  rever 
ence,  affection,  terror.  Ave  Faustina  Imperatrix! 


A    GIPSY    GENIUS 


N  this  world  men  are  the  only 
things  worth  while,  and  I 
propose  to  write  briefly  of 
a  man  who,  though  living  in 
these  our  own  so-called  de 
generate  days,  would  have 
found  a  perfect  setting  in 
"the  spacious  times  of  great 
Elizabeth."  He  would  have  been  a  worthy  com 
panion  of  Raleigh,  half -pirate  &  half -poet.  He  had 
in  his  time  but  one  soul-kinsman,  &  that  man  was 
at  once  England's  shame  and  glory,  embalmed 
forever  in  the  ominous  word  Khartoum  &  <&  & 
Sir  Richard  Burton  was  the  last  of  the  English 
"  gentlemen  adventurers."  He  came  late  into  the 
world,  but  he  had  in  him  the  large,  strong  quali 
ties  that  have  made  the  English  masters  of  the 
world.  He  was  a  Gipsy  Genius,  though  his  utmost 
research  could  never  find  more  clew  to  a  Romany 
ancestry  than  the  fact  that  there  was  a  Gipsy 
family  of  the  same  name.  He  looked  the  Gipsy 
in  every  feature,  and  he  had  upon  him  such  an 
urging  restlessness  as  no  man  ever  had,  save 
perhaps  the  Wandering  Jew.  His  life  was  an  epic 
of  thought,  of  investigation  and  of  adventure. 
The  track  of  his  wanderings  laced  the  globe.  He 


82 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


loved  "the  antres  vast  and  deserts  idle/'  and  he 
had  the  flair,  the  hound-scent,  as  it  were,  to  find 
the  hearts  of  strange  peoples  &  His  "Life,"  by 
his  wife,  is  the  most  interesting  biography  since 
that  of  Boswell,  and  strangely  enough  it  is,  like 
the  famous  Johnson,  as  interesting  for  its  revela 
tion  of  the  biographer  as  for  its  portrayal  of  the 
subject  &&&&&&&&&&&& 
Burton's  wife  was  the  lovingest  slave  who  ever 
wedded  with  an  idol.  The  story  of  their  courtship  is 
ridiculous  almost  to  the  verge  of  tragic.  As  a  girl,  a 
Gipsy  woman  named  Burton  told  Isabel  Arundell 
that  she  would  marry  one  of  the  palmist's  name, 
would  travel  much,  and  receive  much  honor.  One 
day  at  Boulogne  she  was  on  the  ramparts  with 
companions,  when  she  saw  Burton.  She  describes 
him  rapturously;  tall,  thin,  muscular,  very  dark 
hair,  black,  clearly-defined,  sagacious  eyebrows, 
a  brown,  weather-beaten  complexion,  straight 
Arab  features,  a  determined  looking  mouth  and 
chin  &  And  then  she  quotes  a  clever  friend's 
description,  "that  he  had  the  brow  of  a  god,  the 
jaw  of  a  devil."  jfi  &  &&&&&&&& 
His  eyes  "pierced  you  through  and  through." 


THELAWOFLOVE  sa 

When  he  smiled  he  did  so  "  as  though  it  hurt  him." 
He  had  a  "fierce,  proud,  melancholy  expression," 
and  he  "looked  with  contempt  at  things  generally." 
He  stared  at  her,  and  his  eyes  looked  her  through 
and  through.  She  turned  to  a  friend,  and  said  in 
a  whisper,  "That  man  will  marry  me."  The  next 
day  they  walked  again.  This  time  this  man  wrote 
on  the  wall,  "  May  I  speak  to  you  ?  "  She  picked 
up  the  chalk  and  scrawled,  "  No,  mother  will  be 
angry."  &  A  few  days  later  they  met  in  a  formal 
manner  and  were  introduced.  She  started  at  the 
name  Burton.  Her  rhapsodies  on  the  meeting  are 
refreshing.  One  night  he  danced  with  her  &  She 
kept  the  sash  and  the  gloves  she  wore  that  night 
as  sacred  mementos  &&&&&&&& 
Six  years  passed  before  she  saw  her  Fate  again. 
He  had  been  in  the  world  though  and  she  had 
kept  track  of  his  actions.  In  1856  she  met  him  in 
the  Botanical  Gardens,  "walking  with  the  gor 
geous  creature  of  Boulogne — then  married."  They 
talked  of  things,  particularly  of  Disraeli's  Tancred. 
He  asked  her  if  she  came  to  the  Gardens  often. 
She  said  that  she  and  her  cousin  came  there  every 
morning  to  study  &  He  was  there  next  morning, 


84  THELAWOFLOVE 

composing  poetry  to  send  to  Monckton-Milnes. 
They  walked  and  talked,  and  did  it  again  and 
again.  "  I  trod  on  air,"  wrote  the  lady  in  her  old, 
old  age.  Why  not  ?  She  was  one  woman  who  had 
found  a  real  hero  *<  He  asked  her  if  she  could 
dream  of  giving  up  civilization,  and  of  going  to 
live  there  if  he  could  obtain  the  Consulate  of 
Damascus.  He  told  her  to  think  it  over.  She  said, 
"  I  don't  want  to  think  it  over — I  Ve  been  thinking 
it  over  for  six  years,  ever  since  I  first  saw  you  at 
Boulogne  on  the  ramparts.  I  have  prayed  for  you 
every  day,  morning  and  night  ^  I  have  followed 
all  your  career  minutely.  I  have  read  every  word 
you  ever  wrote,  and  I  would  rather  have  a  crust 
and  a  tent  with  you  than  to  be  queen  of  all  the 
world.  And  so  I  say  now,  yes,  yes,  yes."  She  lived 
up  to  this  to  the  day  of  his  death,  &  long  after  it. 
Q  In  1859  she  was  thinking  of  becoming  a  Sister 
of  Charity.  She  had  not  heard  from  Burton  in  a 
long  time  **  He  had  left  her  without  much  cere 
mony  to  search  for  the  sources  of  the  Nile  with 
Speke.  Speke  had  returned  alone.  Burton  remained 
at  Zanzibar,  and  she  says,  "  I  was  very  sore  "  be 
cause  Burton  according  to  report  was  not  think- 


THELAWOFLOVE 


ing  of  coming  home  to  his  love,  but  of  going  for 
the  source  of  the  Nile  once  more.  She  called  on 
a  friend  ^  The  friend  was  out.  She  waited,  and 
while  waiting  Burton  popped  in  upon  her.  He  had 
come  to  see  the  friend  to  get  her  address  ^  Her 
description  of  the  meeting  is  a  pitifully  exact  re 
production  of  her  emotions  over  the  reunion.  He 
was  weakened  by  African  fevers  j*  Her  family, 
ardent  Catholics,  opposed  the  idea  of  marriage. 
The  lovers  used  to  meet  in  the  Botanical  Gardens 
whence  she  often  had  to  escort  him,  fainting,  to 
the  house  of  sympathetic  friends,  in  a  cab  ^  He 
was  poor.  He  was  out  of  favor  with  the  govern 
ment.  Speke  had  preempted  all  the  honors  of  the 
expedition.  But  she  was  happy  &  &  jfi  &  & 
Then,  one  day  in  April,  1860,  she  was  walking 
with  some  friends,  when  "a  tightening  of  the 
heart  "  came  over  her  that  "  she  had  not  known 
before."  She  went  home  and  said  to  her  sister,  "  I 
am  not  going  to  see  Richard  for  some  time."  Her 
sister  reassured  her.  "No,  I  shall  not,"  she  said. 
"  I  don't  know  what  is  the  matter."  A  tap  came  at 
the  door,  and  a  note  was  put  in  her  hand.  Burton 
was  off  on  a  journey  to  Salt  Lake  City  to  investi- 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


gate  Mormonism.  He  would  be  gone  nine  months, 
then  he  would  come  back  to  see  if  she  would 
marry  him.  He  returned  about  Christmas,  1860. 
In  the  latter  part  of  January  they  were  married, 
the  details  of  the  affair,  being  appropriately  un 
conventional,  not  to  say  exciting  jfi  jfi  &  &  j* 
The  marriage  was  practically  an  elopement.  Lady 
Burton's  description  of  the  event,  &  of  every  event 
in  their  lives  ever  after,  discloses  an  idolatry  of 
the  man  that  was  almost  an  insanity.  She  reveals 
herself  a  helpmate  with  no  will  but  her  husband's, 
no  thought  that  was  not  for  and  of  him  *<  She 
annihilated  herself  as  an  individuality,  and  she 
has  left  in  her  own  papers  a  set  of  "  Rules  For  a 
Wife,"  that  will  make  many  wives,  who  are  re 
garded  as  models  of  devotion,  smile  contemptu 
ously  at  her.  She  was  utterly  happy  in  complete 
submission  to  his  will  «/*  She  describes  how  she 
served  him  almost  like  an  Indian  squaw  **  She 
packed  his  trunks,  was  his  amanuensis,  attended 
to  the  details  of  publishing  his  books,  came  or 
went  as  he  bade,  suffered  long  absence  in  silence, 
or  accompanied  him  uncomplainingly  on  long 
journeys  of  exploration,  was  proud  when  he  hyp- 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


87 


notized  her  for  the  amusement  of  his  friends. 
Q  One  can  but  feel  deeply  sorry  for  her,  for  with 
all  her  servility,  she  was  a  woman  of  the  finer 
order  of  mind.  The  pity  of  her  worship  grows  as 
the  reader  of  his  life,  and  hers,  realizes  how  little 
return  in  demonstrative  affection  she  received  as 
the  reward  of  her  vast  and  continuous  lavishment 
of  love.  She  strikes  me  in  this  as  a  strange  blend 
of  the  comic  and  the  tragic.  The  world  neglected 
Burton.  He  almost  deserved  it;  so  great  a  sacri 
fice  as  his  wife's  consecration  of  her  life  to  him 
would  compensate  for  the  loss  of  anything.  You 
admire  it ;  but  you  catch  yourself  suspecting  that 
this  consecration  must  have  been  at  times  an 
awful  bore  to  him.  He  was  unfaithful  to  her,  it  is 
said,  with  ethnological  intent,  in  all  the  tribes  of 
the  earth.  He  had  no  morals  to  speak  of.  He  had 
no  religion,  having  studied  all.  He  was  a  pagan 
beyond  redemption,  though  his  wife  maintained 
he  was  a  Catholic  **  Unfortunately  for  her  his 
masterpiece  refutes  her  overwhelmingly  &  &  & 
He  wrote  the  most  remarkable  poem  of  the  last 
forty  years,  one  that  is  to  be  classed  only  with 
Tennyson's  In  Memoriam,  and  the  Rubaiyat  of 


88 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


Omar  Khayyam.  By  this  poem,  and  probably  by 
the  revelation  of  the  love  he  excited  in  one  woman, 
he  will  live.  This  poem  expresses  himself  and  his 
conclusions  after  years  spent  in  wandering,  fight 
ing,  studying  languages,  customs  and  religions. 
To  understand  the  man  and  his  poem  we  must 
understand  what  he  did,  and  since  the  time  of  the 
Old  Romance  no  man  surpassed  him  in  "deeds  of 
derring-do."  &  He  was  a  modern,  a  very  modern 
Knight  of  the  Round  Table.  He  was  the  possessor 
of  innumerable,  abstruse  and  outlandish  accom 
plishments.  He  was  a  scientist,  a  linguist,  a  poet, 
a  geographer,  a  roughly  clever  diplomat,  a  fighter, 
a  man  with  a  polyhedric  personality  that  caught 
and  gave  something  from  and  to  every  one.  And 
he  died,  dissatisfied,  at  Trieste,  in  1890,  at  the 
age  of  sixty-nine,  and  Swinburne  sang  a  dirge  for 
him  that  was  almost  worth  dying  for  £•&£•& 
What  he  did  is  hard  to  condense  into  an  article. 
I  can  do  no  more  than  skim  over  his  career,  and 
make  out  a  feature  here  and  there  ^  He  was  an 
unstudious  youth.  He  was  not  disciplined.  He  grew 
as  he  might,  and  he  absorbed  information  at  hap 
hazard  from  any  book  he  found  to  his  liking,  or 


THELAWOFLOVE  89 

any  man  he  met  He  went  to  Oxford  after  years 
in  France,  Italy  and  elsewhere,  but  he  was  a  sort 
of  intellectual  Ishmael.  He  studied  things  not  in 
the  curriculum.  He  plunged  into  Arabic  and  Hin 
dustani,  and  was  "rusticated.**  He  cared  nothing 
for  the  classics,  yet  he  left  a  redaction  of  Catullus 
that  is  a  splendid  exposition  of  that  singer's  fear 
ful  corruption,  and  of  his  art  withal.  He  entered 
the  Indian  Army,  and  he  became  so  powerful, 
though  a  subordinate,  that  he  was  repressed.  His 
superiors  feared  that  in  him  they  would  find  an 
other  Clive  or  Hastings.  Then  he  joined  the  Cath 
olic  Church,  but  he  joined  many  a  Church  there 
after  to  find  its  hidden  meaning.  He  was  trusted, 
to  a  limited  extent,  by  Sir  Charles  Napier,  and  he 
so  insinuated  himself  with  the  natives  that  he  was 
one  of  them,  and  sharer  of  their  mysterious  pow 
ers.  Kipling  has  pictured  him,  under  the  name  of 
"  Strickland,"  as  an  occultly  powerful  personage 
in  several  of  his  stories.  He  was  close  to  the  Sikh 
war,  and  in  disguise  he  mingled  with  the  hostile 
natives  until  he  knew  their  very  hearts.  His  pil 
grimage  to  Mecca  was  a  feat  that  startled  the 
world.  He  was  the  first  "infidel "  to  kiss  the  Kaaba. 


90  THELAWOFLOVE 

To  do  this  he  had  to  become  a  Mohammedan, 
and  to  perform  almost  hourly  minute  ceremonials, 
in  which,  had  he  failed  of  perfection,  he  would 
have  been  torn  to  pieces.  His  book  on  this  jour 
ney  is  a  narration  that  displays  the  deadly  cold 
quality  of  his  courage,  and,  indeed,  a  stupendous 
consciencelessness  in  the  interest  of  science.  Next 
we  find  him  in  the  Crimea  in  the  thick  of  things, 
and  always  in  trouble.  He  said  that  all  his  friends 
got  into  trouble,  and  Burton  was  usually  "agin' 
the  government"  It  was  after  the  Crimea  that  he 
met  the  lady  who  became  his  remarkable  wife  in 
the  remarkable  manner  I  have  sketched.  Then  he 
went  off  to  discover  the  sources  of  the  Nile,  and 
with  Speke  navigated  Lake  Tanganyika.  He  knew 
he  had  not  discovered  the  source,  and  he  wanted 
to  try  again,  but  he  and  Speke  quarreled  and 
pamphleteered  against  each  other.  Burton,  defi 
cient  in  money,  and  in  sycophancy,  was  discredited 
for  a  time,  although  now  his  name  is  immortal  in 
geography  as  a  pioneer  of  African  travel  &  We 
have  seen  how  he  left  his  betrothed  to  study  the 
Mormons,  and  he  studied  them  more  closely  than 
his  wife's  book  intimates,  for  she  everything 


THELAWOFLOVE  91 

extenuated  and  ignored  for  her  godlike  Richard. 
Q  After  his  experiences  of  marriage  in  Mormon- 
dom,  undertaken  it  now  seems  in  a  desire  to 
ascertain  if  polygamy  were  not  better  for  him 
than  monogamy,  he  returned  to  London  and  was 
married,  despite  the  objections  of  Isabel  Arun- 
dell's  Catholic  family.  The  lot  of  the  couple  was 
poverty,  although  now  &  then  thoughtful  friends 
invited  them  to  visit,  and  they  accepted  to  save 
money.  After  a  long  wait  he  was  appointed  Con 
sul  at  Fernando  Po,  on  the  West  African  Coast. 
This  was  a  miserable  place,  but  Burton  made  it 
lively;  he  disciplined  the  negroes,  and  he  made 
the  sea-captains  fulfill  their  contracts  under  threat 
of  guns  «£&  He  went  home,  and  then  went  back  to 
Fernando  Po,  and  undertook  delicate  dealings 
with  the  King  of  Dahomey,  and  explored  the  west 
coast  e£fc  He  went  to  Ireland,  but  Ireland  was  too 
quiet  for  him,  but  he  found  that  there  were  Bur 
tons  there,  which  accounted  to  himself  for  much 
in  himself.  After  that  he  went  to  Brazil  as  Consul 
at  Santos,  Sao  Paulo,  another  "  jump  ing- of  f"  place. 
He  explored.  He  found  rubies,  and  he  obtained 
a  concession  for  a  lead  mine  for  others.  He  met 


92  THELAWOFLOVE 

there  the  Tichborne  claimant,  and  invented  a 
carbine  pistol.  He  visited  Argentina.  All  this  time 
he  was  writing  upon  many  things,  or  having  his 
wife  take  his  dictation.  She  went  into  the  wilds, 
down  into  the  mines,  everywhere  with  him.  Next 
he  was  transferred  to  Damascus,  where  his  hon 
esty  got  him  into  trouble,  &  his  wife's  Catholicity 
aroused  fierce  sentiment  against  him  *<  He  went 
into  Syria,  and  he  created  consternation  among 
the  corrupt  office-holders  in  Asia  Minor.  One  can 
scarcely  follow  his  career  without  dizziness.  To 
oblige  a  friend  who  wanted  a  report  on  a  mine,  he 
went  to  Iceland,  and  came  back  to  take  the  Consul 
ship  at  Trieste.  He  went  back  to  India  and  into 
Egypt,  &  then  returned  to  Trieste  to  die.  He  wrote 
pamphlets,  monographs,  letters  and  books  about 
everything  he  saw  and  every  place  he  visited.  He 
had  information  exact  and  from  the  fountain  head 
about  innumerable  things :  religions,  races,  ruins, 
customs,  languages,  tribal  genealogies,  vices,  geol 
ogy,  archaeology,  paleontology,  botany,  politics, 
morals,  almost  everything  that  was  of  human  in 
terest  and  value,  and  besides  all  this,  he  was  fa 
miliar  with  Chaucer's  vocabulary,  with  recondite 


THELAWOFLOVE  93 

learning  about  Latin  Colloquialisms,  and  read  with 
avidity  everything  from  the  Confessions  of  Saint 
Augustine  to  the  newspapers.  He  wrote  a  Book 
of  the  Sword  that  is  the  standard  book  on  that  im 
plement  for  the  carving  of  the  world.  His  transla 
tion  of  the  Arabian  Nights  is  a  Titanic  work,  in 
valuable  for  its  light  upon  Oriental  folk-lore,  and 
literal  to  a  degree  that  will  keep  it  forever  a 
sealed  book  to  the  Young  Person.  His  translation 
of  Camoens  is  said  to  be  a  wonderful  rendition  of 
the  spirit  of  the  Portuguese  Homer.  His  Catullus 
is  familiar  to  students,  but  not  edifying.  He  wrote  a 
curious  volume  on  Falconry  in  India,  and  a  man 
ual  of  bayonet  exercise  &  He  collated  a  strange 
volume  of  African  folk-lore.  He  translated  several 
Brazilian  tales  &  He  translated  Apuleius'  Golden 
Ass.  And  he  had  notes  for  a  book  on  the  Gipsies, 
on  the  Greek  Anthology  and  Ausonius.  The  Bur 
ton  bibliography  looks  like  a  catalogue  of  a  small 
library.  All  the  world  knows  about  his  book,  The 
Scented  Garden,  which  he  translated  from  the 
Persian  &  which,  after  his  death,  his  wife  burned 
rather  than  permit  the  publication  of  its  naked 
naturalism.  It  was  in  the  same  vein  as  his  Arabian 


94  THELAWOFLOVE 

Nights  &  contained  much  curious  comment  upon 
many  things  that  we  Anglo-Saxons  do  not  talk 
about  save  in  medical  society  meetings  and  dog- 
Latin  &J>J>jfi&&jfijfi&&&jfij* 
When  such  a  man  sat  down  to  write  a  poem 
embodying  his  view  of  "The  Higher  Law,"  what 
could  have  been  expected  but  a  notable  manu 
script?  With  his  poem,  the  Kasidah,  we  shall 
now  concern  ourselves.  It  purports  to  be  a  trans 
lation  from  the  Arabic  of  Haji  Abu  El  Yezdi.  Its 
style  is  like  that  of  the  Rubaiyat.  It  is  crude  but 
subtle.  It  is  brutal  in  its  anti-theism,  and  yet  it  has 
a  certain  tender  grace  of  melancholy  deeper  than 
Omar's  own.  It  is  devoid  of  Omar's  mysticism  and 
epicureanism,  and  appallingly  synthetic.  It  will 
not  capture  the  sentimentalist,  like  the  Rubaiyat, 
but  when  it  shall  be  known  it  will  divide  honors 
with  the  now  universally  popular  Persian  poem. 
The  Kasidah  was  written  in  1853,  and  it  is  in  its 
opening  much  like  FitzGerald's  Rubaiyat,  though 
Burton  never  saw  that  gem  of  philosophy  and 
song  until  eight  years  after.  The  Kasidah  was  not 
printed  until  1880.  It  is  difficult  to  interpret  be 
cause  it  so  clearly  interprets  itself.  It  must  be  read. 


THELAWOFLOVE  95 

It  cannot  be  "explained."  QThe  Kasidah  con 
sists  of  about  three  hundred  couplets  of  remark 
able  vigor  in  condensation  %^  It  reviews  all  the 
explanations  of  "  the  sorry  scheme  of  things  "  that 
man  has  contrived,  and  it  holds  forth  the  writer's 
own  view.  He  maintains  that  happiness  &  misery 
are  equally  divided  and  distributed  in  this  world. 
Self-cultivation  is,  in  his  view,  the  sole,  sufficient 
object  of  human  life,  with  due  regard  for  others. 
The  affections,  the  sympathies  and  "the  divine 
gift  of  Pity "  are  man's  highest  enjoyments.  He 
advocates  suspension  of  judgment  with  a  proper 
suspicion  of  "facts,  the  idlest  of  superstitions." 
This  is  pure  agnosticism  &  &  &  &  &  &  & 
There  runs  all  through  the  poem  a  sad  note  that 
heightens  the  courage  with  which  the  writer  faces 
his  own  bleak  conclusion,  and  "  the  tinkling  of  the 
camel's  bell "  is  heard  faint  and  far  in  the  surge 
of  his  invective,  or  below  the  lowest  deep  of  his 
despair.  In  Arabia  Death  rides  a  camel,  instead  of 
a  white  horse,  as  our  Occidental  myth  has  it,  and 
"the  camel's  bell"  is  the  music  to  which  all  life 
is  attuned.  Burton  reverts  from  time  to  time  to 
this  terrifying  tintinnabulation,  but  he  blends  it 


96  THELAWOFLOVE 

with  the  suggested  glamour  of  evening,  until  the 
terror  almost  merges  into  tenderness.  The  recur 
rence  of  this  minor  chord  in  the  savage  sweep  of 
Burton's  protest  against  the  irony  of  existence, 
is  a  fascination  that  the  Kasidah  has  in  common 
with  every  great  poem  of  the  world.  The  material 
ism  of  the  book  is  peculiar  in  that  it  is  Oriental, 
and  Orientalism  is  peculiarly  mystical.  The  verse 
is  blunt,  and  almost  coarse  in  places,  but  here 
and  there  are  gentler  touches,  softer  tones,  that 
search  out  the  sorrow  at  the  heart  of  things.  It  is 
worthy,  in  its  power,  of  the  praise  of  Browning, 
Swinburne,  Theodore  Watts,  Gerald  Massey.  It  is 
Edward  FitzGerald  minus  the  vine  and  the  rose 
and  all  Persian  silkiness.  The  problem  he  sets  out 
to  solve,  and  he  solves  it  by  a  "petitio  principii,"  is 

Why  must  we  meet,  why  must  we  part,  why  must  we  bear  this  yoke 

of  Must, 
Without  our  leave  or  ask  or  given,  by  tyrant  Fate  on  victim  thrust  ? 

Q  The  impermanence  of  things  oppresses  him, 
for  he  says  in  an  adieu: 

haply  some  day  we  meet  again ; 

Yet  ne'er  the  self -same  men  shall  meet ;  the  years  shall  make  us  other 
men. 

He  crams  into  one  couplet  after  another,  philos- 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


97 


ophy  after  philosophy,  creed  after  creed,  Stoic, 
Epicurean,  Hebraic,  Persian,  Christian,  and  puts 
his  finger  on  the  flaw  in  them  all.  Man  comes  to 
life  as  to  "the  Feast  unbid,"  and  finds  "the  gor 
geous  table  spread  with  fair-seeming  Sodom-fruit, 
with  stones  that  bear  the  shape  of  bread."  There 
is  an  echo  of  Koheleth  in  his  contempt  for  the 
divinity  of  the  body.  It  is  unclean  without,  impure 
within  £•  The  vanity  of  vanity  is  proclaimed  with 
piteous  indignation: 

And  still  the  weaver  plies  his  loom,  whose  warp  and  woof  is  wretched 

Man, 
Weaving  the  unpattern'd,  dark  design,  so  dark  we  doubt  it  owns  a 

plan. 

Dost  not,  O  Maker,  blush  to  hear,  amid  the  storm  of  tears  and  blood, 
Men  say  Thy  mercy  made  what  is,  and  saw  the  made  and  said  't  was 

good? 

And  then  he  sings : 

Cease,  Man,  to  mourn,  to  weep,  to  wail ;  enjoy  thy  shining  hour  of  sun ; 
We  dance  along  Death's  icy  brink,  but  is  the  dance  less  full  of  fun? 

In  sweeping  away  the  old  philosophies  and  relig 
ions,  he  is  at  his  best  as  a  scorner,  but  he  has  "  the 
scorn  of  scorn  "  and  some  of  "  the  love  of  love  " 
which  Tennyson  declares  is  the  poet's  dower.  His 
lament  for  the  Greek  paganism  runs: 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


And  when  at  length,  "  Great  Pan  is  dead,"  uprose  the  loud  and  dolor 
ous  cry, 

A  glamour  withered  on  the  ground,  a  splendour  faded  in  the  sky. 

Yea,  Pan  was  dead,  the  Nazarene  came  and  seized  his  seat  beneath 
the  sun, 

The  votary  of  the  Riddle-god,  whose  one  is  three,  and  three  is  one. 

•*-*-*-X-#-fc###-3v-#-£#-* 

Then  the  lank  Arab,  foul  with  sweat,  the  drainer  of  the  camel's  dug, 
Gorged  with  his  leek-green  lizard's  meat,  clad  in  his  filthy  rag  and  rug, 
Bore  his  fierce  Allah  o'er  his  sands 

Where,  he  asks,  are  all  the  creeds  and  crowns 
and  sceptres,  "  the  holy  grail  of  high  Jamshid  ?  " 

Gone,  gone  where  I  and  thou  must  go,  borne  by  the  winnowing  wings 

of  Death, 

The  Horror  brooding  over  life,  and  nearer  brought  with  every  breath. 
Their  fame  hath  filled  the  Seven  Climes,  they  rose  and  reigned,  they 

fought  and  fell, 
As  swells  and  swoons  across  the  wold  the  tinkling  of  the  Camel's  bell. 

For  him,  "  there  is  no  good,  there  is  no  bad ;  these 
be  the  whims  of  mortal  will."  They  change  with 
place,  they  shift  with  race.  "  Each  vice  has  borne 
a  Virtue's  crown,  all  Good  was  banned  as  Sin  or 
Crime."  He  takes  up  the  history  of  the  world,  as  we 
reconstruct  it  for  the  period  before  history,  from 
geology,  astronomy  and  other  sciences.  He  accepts 
the  murder ousness  of  all  processes  of  lif  e&  change. 
All  the  cruelty  of  things  "  Builds  up  a  world  for 
better  use;  to  general  Good  bends  special  111." 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


99 


And  thus  the  race  of  Being  runs,  till  haply  in  the  time  to  be 

Earth  shifts  her  pole  and  Mushtari-men  another  falling  star  shall  see: 

Shall  see  it  fall  and  fade  from  sight,  whence  come,  where  gone  no 

Thought  can  tell, — 
Drink  of  yon  mirage-stream  and  chase  the  tinkling  of  the  camel's  bell. 

Yet  follow  not  the  unwisdom  path,  cleave  not  to  this  and  that  disclaim; 
Believe  in  all  that  man  believes ;  here  all  and  naught  are  both  the 

same. 

Enough  to  think  that  Truth  can  be:  come  sit  we  where  the  roses  glow, 
Indeed  he  knows  not  how  to  know  who  knows  not  also  how  to 

unknow. 

He  denies  the  Soul  and  wants  to  know  where  it 
was  when  Man  was  a  savage  beast  in  primeval 
forests,  what  shape  it  had,  what  dwelling  place, 
what  part  in  nature's  plan  it  played.  "  What  men 
are  pleased  to  call  the  Soul  was  in  the  hog  and 
dog  begun."  &&&&&&&&&&& 

Life  is  a  ladder  infinite-stepped  that  hides  its  rungs  from  human  eyes : 
Planted  its  foot  in  chaos-gloom,  its  head  soars  high  above  the  skies. 

The  evolution  theory  he  applies  to  the  develop 
ment  of  reason  from  instinct.  He  protests  against 
the  revulsion  from  materialism  by  saying  that 
"  the  sordider  the  stuff,  the  cunninger  the  work 
man's  hand,"  and  therefore  the  Maker  may  have 
made  the  world  from  matter.  He  maintains  that 
"  the  hands  of  Destiny  ever  deal,  in  fixed  &  equal 
parts,  their  shares  of  joy  and  sorrow,  woe  and 


100 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


weal "  to  all  that  breathe  our  upper  air.  The  prob 
lem  of  predestination  he  holds  in  scorn  ^<  The 
unequality  of  life  exists  and  "  that  settles  it "  for 
him.  He  accepts  one  bowl  with  scant  delight,  but 
he  says  "  who  drains  the  score  must  ne'er  expect 
to  rue  the  headache  in  the  morn."  Disputing  about 
creeds  is  "  mumbling  rotten  bones."  His  creed  is 
this: 

Do  what  thy  manhood  bids  thee  do,  from  none  but  self  expect 

applause; 
He  noblest  lives  and  noblest  dies  who  makes  and  keeps  his  self-made 

laws. 

All  other  Life  is  living  Death,  a  world  where  none  but  Phantoms  dwell, 
A  breath,  a  wind,  a  sound,  a  voice,  a  tinkling  of  the  Camel's  bell. 

He  appreciates  to  the  full  the  hedonism  of  Omar, 
but  he  casts  it  aside  as  emptiness  *&  He  tried  the 
religion  of  pleasure  and  beauty.  His  rules  of  life 
are  many  &  first  is  "  eternal  war  with  Ignorance." 
He  says :  "  Thine  ignorance  of  thine  ignorance  is 
thy  fiercest  foe,  the  deadliest  bane."  The  Atom 
must  fight  the  unequal  fray  against  a  myriad 
giants.  The  end  is  to  "  learn  the  noblest  lore,  to 
know  that  all  we  know  is  naught."  Self-approval 
is  enough  reward  ^  The  whole  duty  of  man  is  to 
himself,  but  he  must  "  hold  Humanity  one  man," 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


101 


and,  looking  back  at  what  he  was,  determine  not 
to  be  again  that  thing.  "Abjure  the  Why  and  seek 
the  How."  The  gods  are  silent  &  The  indivisible 
puny  Now  in  the  length  of  infinite  time  is  Man's 
all  to  make  the  best  of  &  The  law  may  have  a 
giver;  but  let  be,  let  be! 

This  "  I "  may  find  a  future  life,  a  nobler  copy  of  our  own, 

Where  every  riddle  shall  be  ree'd,  where  every  knowledge  shall  be 

known ; 
Where  't  will  be  man's  to  see  the  whole  of  what  on  Earth  he  sees  a 

part; 
Where  change  shall  ne'er  surcharge  the  thought ;  nor  hope  deferred 

shall  hurt  the  heart. 

But ! — faded  flower  and  fallen  leaf  no  more  shall  deck  the  parent  tree ; 
A  man  once  dropt  by  Tree  of  Life,  what  hope  of  other  life  has  he  ? 
The  shattered  bowl  shall  know  repair ;  the  riven  lute  shall  sound  once 

more; 

But  who  shall  mend  the  clay  of  man,  the  stolen  breath  to  man  restore  ? 
The  shivered  clock  again  shall  strike,  the  broken  reed  shall  pipe  again : 
But  we,  we  die  and  Death  is  one,  the  doom  of  brutes,  the  doom  of 

men. 

Then  if  Nirvana  round  our  life  with  nothingness,  't  is  haply  blest ; 
Thy  toils  and  troubles,  want  and  woe  at  length  have  won  their 

guerdon — Rest. 
Cease,  Abdu,  cease!  Thy  song  is  sung,  nor  think  the  gain  the  singer's 

prize, 

Till  men  hold  ignorance  deadly  sin,  till  man  deserves  his  title  "  Wise." 
In  days  to  come,  Days  slow  to  dawn,  when  wisdom  deigns  to  dwell 

with  men, 
These  echoes  of  a  voice  long  stilled,  haply  shall  wake  responsive 

strain : 


102 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


Wend   now  thy  way  with  brow  serene,  fear  not  thy  humble  tale 

to  tell:— 
The  whispers  of   the   Desert-wind ;  the  tinkling  of  the   Camel's 

bell. 

So  ends  the  song.  The  notes  appended  thereto  by 
Burton  are  a  demonstration  of  his  learning  and 
his  polemic  power.  The  poem  is  his  life  of  quest, 
of  struggle,  of  disappointment,  coined  into  song 
more  or  less  savage.  It  seems  to  me  he  overlooked 
one  thing  near  to  him  that  would  have  lighted 
the  darkness  of  his  view,  while  looking  to  Reason 
for  balm  for  the  wounds  of  existence.  He  ignored 
his  wife's  love  which,  silly  and  absurd  as  it  seems 
at  times,  in  the  records  she  has  left  us,  is  a  sweeter 
poem  than  this  potent  plaint  and  protest  he  has 
left  us.  He  explored  all  lands  but  the  one  in  which 
he  lived  unconsciously — The  Land  of  Tenderness. 
This  is  the  pity  of  his  life  and  it  is  also  its  indig 
nity.  He  was  crueler  than  "the  Cruelty  of  Things." 
He  "  threw  away  a  pearl  richer  than  all  his  tribe" 
— a  woman's  heart.  But — how  we  argue  in  a  circle! 
— that  he,  with  his  fine  vision,  could  not  see  this, 
is  perhaps  a  justification  of  his  poem's  bitterness. 
Even  her  service  went  for  naught,  seeing  it  brought 
no  return  of  love  from  its  object  &  &  j*  &  & 


THELAWOFLOVE  103 


Burton  was  a  great  man,  though  a  failure  «<  His 
wife's  life  was  one  continuous  act  of  love  for  him 
that  he  ignored,  and  her  life  was  a  failure  too, 
since  her  love  never  succeeded  in  making  the 
world  worship  him  as  she  did.  Still,  "  the  failures 
of  some  are  infinities  beyond  the  successes  of 
others,"  and  all  success  is  failure  in  the  end.  Still, 
again,  it  is  better  to  have  loved  in  vain  than  never 
to  have  loved  at  all,  and  fine  and  bold  and  brave 
as  was  Richard  Francis  Burton,  his  wife,  with  her 
"  strong  power  called  weakness "  was  the  greater 
of  the  two.  She  wrote  no  Kasidah  of  complaint, 
but  suffered  and  was  strong  &  &  &  &  &  & 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE  121 

Brichanteau  a  bum  actor,  and  that  he  surely  was, 
but  not  in  his  own  opinion.  *<  The  irony  of  the 
approval  he  received  escaped  him.  At  best  he  was 
a  "hit"  only  in  an  out-of-the-way  place,  at  Com- 
piegne  «*  But  to  him  the  praise,  the  bravos,  the 
compliments  were  as  sweet  as  though  he  had  won 
them  at  the  Comedie  Francaise.  Sincere,  pitiably 
sincere,  as  he  was  himself,  he  was  blessed  with 
the  insanity  of  believing  that  he  attained  the  height 
he  craved,  and  that  all  around  him  were  as  sincere 
ashe^^^^^e^^e^^^^^^ 
Brichanteau's  sally  from  besieged  Paris,  his  cap 
ture  by  the  beleaguers  and  his  wild  scheme  to 
kidnap  the  German  Emperor  and  enforce  a  rais 
ing  of  the  siege — these  are  all  incidents  which  to 
be  enjoyed,  must  be  read  in  full  **  His  scheme 
failed,  of  course,  but  Brichanteau  lived  in  a  dream 
of  immortality  as  France's  savior,  while  the  ridic 
ulous  project  occupied  his  fantastic  mind.  He  had 
it  all  figured  out  like  a  play,  the  things  he  would 
do,  the  attitudes  he  would  strike,  the  fine  lines 
like  those  of  Moliere  or  Hugo  or  Shakespeare, 
that  he  would  say  on  this  occasion  or  in  that  situa 
tion.  The  failure  did  not  undeceive  him.  He  felt 


122 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


that  he  would  have  accomplished  his  end,  but  for 
the  capitulation  «*  He  had  lived  it  to  successful 
accomplishment  in  his  dream  anyhow,  and  it  was 
one  of  his  treasures  of  glory.  Brichanteau  could 
not  conceive  of  a  universe  without  himself  as  the 
heroic  center  thereof.  How  young  his  heart  was; 
just  like  the  boy  who  is  the  hero  of  each  novel  he 


The  story  of  Brichanteau's  trial  as  an  actor  at  the 
Conservatory,  when  he  first  took  to  the  stage,  is 
a  graphic  picture  of  an  important  function  in  the 
artist-life  of  Paris  «*  It  is  given  with  rare  humor 
and  irony  and  with  a  fine  sense  of  pity  for  those 
who  are  mistaken  in  their  estimate  of  their  voca 
tion  or  of  their  abilities.  Brichanteau  had  a  tre 
mendous  voice.  He  bawled  before  the  judges.  He 
could  see  that  his  teacher  was  jealous  of  his  voice, 
and  that  made  him  roar  the  louder.  You  can  hear 
the  authorities  of  the  Conservatory  laughing  at 
Brichanteau's  fustian,  but  he  could  not.  To  him, 
they  all  recognized  his  greatness  and  conspired 
against  him.  He  repeats  their  ironical  compliments. 
He  sees  the  tragic  and  the  comic  in  all  the  other 
candidates  and  hits  off  either  in  most  telling 


THELAWOFLOVE  123 

fashion,  and  this  it  is  that  really  makes  piteous  his 
inability  rightly  to  estimate  himself.  Now  and  then 
there  drops  into  his  recital  a  little  note  that  finds 
your  heart,  as  when  he  thinks  on  the  day  he  gains 
only  a  "mention,"  that  his  parents  are  happier 
dead,  that  they  do  not  witness  his  failure  *<  He 
could  think  of  this  even  while  he  felt  that  his 
failure  was  due  to  jealousy  on  the  part  of  his 
judges.  His  only  comfort  was  little  Jenny  Valadon. 
They  lived  upon  love  in  a  garret.  His  career  as  a 
bad  actor  is  recited  in  terrible  detail,  when  you 
think  of  the  heart-break  in  it  all,  which  he  con 
ceals  beneath  a  sort  of  wistful  humor  «*  But  he 
consoled  himself.  He  had  imaginary  triumphs.  He 
had  been  kings,  heroes,  geniuses,  all  the  charac 
ters  of  great  associations  in  the  French  drama. 
They  were  all  real  to  him.  The  imaginary  glories 
fattened  him.  They  gilded  his  destitution.  Truly 
comical  as  the  delusion  seems  at  times,  one  almost 
can  cry  for  Brichanteau,  ranting  thro'  life  under 
the  impression  that  he  was  an  unappreciated 
Talma,  and  all  the  crowd  giggling  inextinguisha 
bly  at  his  immense  voice  and  giving  him  jeering 
applause.  That  voice !  Little  Jenny  killed  herself 


124  THELAWOFLOVE 

trying  to  act  up  to  it.  Brichanteau  roared  on  the 
stage.  She  tore  out  her  throat  and  lungs  to  equal 
him,  for  what  he  did  was  right,  to  her.  They  had 
to  part,  and  whither  she  went  before  going  to  the 
grave,  one  may  guess.  Brichanteau  mourned  her 
as  a  sweet  sacrifice  to  his  voice,  to  Art  &  &  & 
Of  course  Brichanteau  admired  the  great  Napo 
leon,  as  a  true  Frenchman  <&  His  admiration  for 
Napoleon  was  great,  not  only  because  Napoleon 
was  a  grand  character,  but  because  he  had 
appeared  in  plays  in  which  Napoleon  was  a  char 
acter,  and  once  or  twice  had  played  Napoleon 
himself.  There  is  a  fine  scene  in  the  book,  in  which 
our  hero  quarrels  with  another  disappointed  actor 
over  Napoleon.  The  other  old  actor,  Dauberval, 
denounced  Napoleon  as  an  enemy  of  art  ^  The 
scene  in  which  the  two  actors  develop  their  quar 
rel  is  well  contrived  to  show  us  Brichanteau's  loy 
alty.  He  said  that  if  Napoleon  liked  old  tragedies 
and  "stuff"  it  was  not  Napoleon's  fault  that  Vic 
tor  Hugo  came  later.  Dauberval  maintained  that 
Napoleon  was  an  idiot  &  Brichanteau  leaves  his 
house.  "  I  am  not  a  Bonapartist,"  he  says,  "  but 
my  heart  remembers.  So  many  recalls  in  that  role, 


THELAWOFLOVE  125 

I,  who  had  played  Remond  in  L'Empereur  et  le 
Soldat,  say  that  Napoleon  was  an  idiot?  Wipe 
out  my  past  at  a  single  stroke  ?  "  Brichanteau  was 
Napoleon,  the  happy,  old  hallucinant  &  <£  & 
It  was  a  great  day  when  it  came,  the  day  for  the 
casting  of  Montescure's  statue  of  "The  Roman 
Soldier/'  or  of  Brichanteau,  for  had  not  the  actor 
vowed  that  he  and  the  sculptor  should  be  immor 
talized  in  bronze  at  Garigat-sur-Garonne  ?  *<  The 
town  had  agreed  to  purchase  that  work  ^  The 
mayor  had  the  idea  that  the  event  would  bring 
a  minister  to  the  town  for  the  dedication,  and  the 
minister  would  give  the  mayor  the  Cross  of  the 
Legion  **  Montescure,  who  had  asked  for  bread, 
was  to  be  given  a  stone,  like  Butler,  author  of 
Hudibras.  It  was  a  great  day,  not  only  that  Mon 
tescure  was  to  be  avenged,  but  because  it  was 
Sebastien  Brichanteau  they  were  going  to  cast. 
He  knew  that  all  present  knew  that  the  statue 
was  he.  He  mused:  "That  metal,  Brichanteau,  is 
your  image  still  in  liquid  form  ->  That  bronze  in 
fusion  is  your  statue.  That  blazing  stream  is,  per 
haps,  your  forehead;  those  bursts  of  flame  are 
from  your  eyes."  &  An  excellent  Brocken  scene, 


126  THELAWOFLOVE 

should  he  ever  play  Faust  &  What  if  the  metal 
should  give  out  ?  **  He  remembered  Benvenuto 
Cellini  in  like  case,  for  had  he  not  played  Ben 
venuto  once  ?  He  enacted  the  part  of  Cellini  all 
over  again.  Ah,  if  he  ever  should  play  it  again, 
what  new  meaning  he  would  be  able  to  put  in 
the  line,  "Ah,  if  blood  could  be  hardened  into 
bronze  !  "  At  last  it  is  over.  Brichanteau  exclaims  : 
"  I  was  cast,  like  Cellini's  Jupiter."  ^  When  the 
mold  was  broken  he  gazed  upon  himself  &  rhap 
sodized.  Hope  was  high.  He  was  to  conquer  Fate. 
But  the  statue  never  was  dedicated.  Brichanteau 
never  heard  himself  apostrophized  in  the  Roman. 
He  had  no  chance  to  read  a  poem  **  The  statue 
remains  in  a  shed.  Still  Brichanteau  never  des 
pairs.  He  will  arrange  a  benefit  to  raise  Monies- 
cure's  disguised  statue  of  Brichanteau  in  the  bright 


Brichanteau's  sketch  of  an  actor's  funeral  is  a 
marvel  of  what  bitterness  may  underlie  even  the 
pathetic  note  in  fun.  The  actor  Panazol  is  buried 
with  services  at  which  what  was  to  have  been  a 
eulogy  turns  out  to  be  a  criticism  and  a  cruel  one. 
An  actor  cannot  speak  unreserved  praise  of  even 


THELAWOFLOVE  127 

a  dead  fellow  mummer.  Another  actor  arises  to 
say  something  over  the  grave,  forgets  his  memo 
rized  speech  and  begins  to  declaim  from  a  part 
he  is  then  studying  ^^^•^^•^^•^^ 
We  may  pass  over  the  glories  of  the  old  days,  as 
Brichanteau  remembers  them,  with  all  their  roles. 
He  goes  to  America,  but  is  taken  with  cholera  at 
Havana.  He  returns  to  France.  He  is  getting  old. 
He  goes  down  hill,  but  the  hunger  of  the  ideal, 
the  appetite  for  applause  does  not  die  ^  He  still 
stood  erect  in  his  pride  «*  He  was,  he  declared, 
steadfast  to  art.  "  Even  when  you  play  subordi 
nate  roles,"  said  he  to  himself,  "  you  play  them  in 
genuine  theatres  and  in  works  of  art  «*  You  will 
die  with  the  drama,  Brichanteau.  You  have  and 
you  will  keep  immaculate  your  self-esteem."  He 
would  not  take  a  pension.  He  would  not  appear 
in  a  cafe  chantant.  But  he  became  a  starter  for 
the  bicycle  races.  He  shouted  "Go!"  That  grand 
voice  had  not  lost  its  magnificence.  "Go,"  he  says. 
"  You  hear  that  note  ?  Go !  Yes,  the  voice  still  has 
its  trumpet  tone."  &  It  is  art  even  to  start  bicycle 
races.  It  is  to  be  done  with  all  one's  soul.  He  shuts 
his  eyes  as  he  says  "  Go,"  sometimes,  and  imagines 


128  THELAWOFLOVE 

that  he  is  giving  the  signal  for  an  epic  duel  as  in 
La  Dame  de  Monsoreau.  And  he  listens  for  the 
clash  of  swords,  the  resounding  roar  of  applause. 
He  starts  by  firing  a  pistol,  and  he  breathes  the 
powder  of  the  old  days.  Then  he  tells  the  story  of 
a  tenor  with  a  bad  memory  who,  on  his  first  night, 
being  billed  in  the  Huguenots,  rushes  on  the  stage 
and  sings  Robert  le  Diable.  This  tenor  he  knows 
well.  He  laughs  at  the  tenor's  idea  that  he  was 
crushed  by  a  conspiracy.  &  The  tenor  is  now  a 
policeman  and  he  maintains  that  he  performed  a 
great  feat  in  lyric  art,  did  an  immortal  thing  in 
giving  a  rendition  of  two  of  Myerbeer's  operas 
at  once.  Brichanteau  winks  in  his  sleeve  at  the 
delusion,  but  he  is  certain  that  he  was  kept  out 
of  the  Comedie  Francaise  by  Beauvallet's  jealousy 
of  his  voice  &  He  sees  the  mote,  not  the  beam. 
Q  Old  and  still  older  he  grows,  more  shabby- 
genteel,  but  with  a  knightly  manner  of  leaning 
upon  his  umbrella,  as  if  it  were  a  rapier.  There  is 
sadness  in  his  eyes.  But  he  still  remembers  "  The 
Roman  Under  the  Yoke."  That  statue  will  yet  be 
dedicated — dedicated  to  the  long  dead  sculptor 
and  to  Brichanteau,  his  model.  He  bestirs  himself 


THELAWOFLOVE  us 

Brichanteau's  own  words  to  get  the  exquisite  fla 
vor  of  his  actoresque  self-appreciation  &  It  is 
delicious  in  its  serenity.  His  speech  is  essentially 
florid  and  ultra-theatrical  &  It  reeks  with  stage 
mannerisms,  and  as  M.  Claretie  reports  it,  you 
have  no  difficulty  in  filling  in,  from  your  own 
recollections  of  "the  profesh,"  all  the  shabby 
gentility  of  the  talker  and  all  the  mock  elegance 
of  his  manner  &&&£•&  &  &  &  <£  & 
Montescure's  story,  as  he  told  it,  is  rehearsed  by 
Brichanteau,  from  the  time  he  was  born  in  Gari- 
gat-sur-Garonne,  until  the  grand  event — his  meet 
ing  with  Brichanteau.  The  actor  agrees  to  pose 
for  the  Roman,  in  the  statue  to  which  we  have 
been  introduced.  He  will  do  it  without  pay  for 
"  Art's  sake."  As  he  declares  it,  you  realize  that 
in  his  ridiculous  sincerity  there  lingers  a  touch  of 
the  sublime.  Brichanteau  poses  for  the  Roman. 
He  tells  us  all  the  expression  of  greatness  fallen 
he  tried  to  put  into  his  pose,  and  as  he  tells  it 
with  extravagant  absurdity,  he  threads  the  rev 
elation  of  his  own  vanity  with  a  touching  descrip 
tion  of  the  consumptive,  half -starved  sculptor  at 
work,  sustained  only  by  the  force  of  his  dream 


114  THELAWOFLOVE 

that  the  completed  sculpture  will  give  him  fame. 
The  contrasted  delusions  of  the  two  men  make  a 
powerful  appeal  to  one's  pity  «*  The  ridiculous, 
stilted  speech  in  which  the  tale  is  told  is  peppered 
with  sentences  of  rare  beauty  and  insight,  flashes 
of  sure  criticism,  wit,  humor,  eloquence,  graceful 
allusion.  Brichanteau's  talk  is  a  generous  stream 
of  the  wisdom  of  the  fool.  It  is  a  marvel  of  prac 
tical  sense  pouring  from  the  most  impractical  of 
mortals  jf,^^^^^^^^>^^^ 
The  sculptor  is  in  love  with  the  ingenue  of  Brich 
anteau's  company — it  is  a  vain  love  that  glorifies 
his  vain  life  and  vain  ambition.  When  he  played 
in  the  orchestra  she  made  fun  of  him  in  the  wings, 
saying  his  tunes  "  made  eyes  at  her."  Brichanteau 
pities  the  artist,  sympathizes  with  his  dream,  sup 
ports  him  and  dreams  all  the  while  to  himself,  that 
the  famous  " Roman  under  the  Yoke"  is  to  immor 
talize  him,  too.  The  actor  sells  his  clothes  to  help 
the  sculptor.  He  reads  poetry  to  him,  he  confesses 
with  shame,  to  put  him  to  sleep.  The  sculptor  dies 
murmuring  &  mumbling  of  "  Glory" — "  the  great 
mirage  that  leads  us  all  on,"  says  Brichanteau. 
The  ingenue  laughs,  when  invited  to  the  funeral. 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


115 


The  sculpture  was  sent  to  the  Salon  and  put  away 
in  a  corner  where  none  could  see  it.  Brichanteau 
took  up  a  collection,  bought  a  wreath  and  placed 
it  on  the  statue  ^  He  declares  his  intention  of 
having  a  statue  set  up  in  the  sculptor's  town,  Gar- 
igat-sur-Garonne,  of  doing  all  in  his  power  to  real 
ize  for  Montescure  posthumously,  the  dream  of 
glory.  He  was  chasing  another  chimera,  a  chimera 
created  out  of  the  goodness  of  Brichanteau's  heart. 
Q  Can't  you  imagine  Brichanteau?  No  ?  jt  Well, 
take  the  figure  of  the  typical  actor  in  a  Puck 
picture.  Extract  from  it  the  vulgarity  of  the  latter- 
day  cartoonist  and  substitute  a  little  dignity  and 
pathos.  Then  you  have  Brichanteau,  kind-hearted, 
tall,  shiny  as  to  coat-sleeves,  smooth-shaven,  de 
liberate  in  movement,  pompous,  grandiloquent. 
Fool  that  he  is,  still  he  is  a  hero,  for  he  lives  up 
to  his  ideals  of  art,  of  friendship,  of  personal 
worth,  regardless  of  all  the  world.  Generous  sim 
pleton  that  he  is,  he  forgives  the  world  for  not 
taking  him  at  his  own  valuation  *•*  He  lives  bolt 
upright,  denying  strenuously  to  himself  that  ver 
dict  of  the  world — written  all  over  him — van 
quished.  All  his  story,  as  M.  Claretie  tells  it,  is  a 


116 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


song  for  the  vanquished.  Q  The  incident  of  the 
lasso,  in  this  story,  is  a  bit  of  Gargantuan  fun, 
broad,  yet  toned  by  an  artist's  true  sense  of  re 
straint.  It  is  a  gorgeous  example  of  the  pathetic, 
of  the  anticlimactic  effect  of  taking  art  too  seri 
ously.  The  incident  occurred  at  Perpignan,  where 
Brichanteau  found  himself.  It  is  one  of  his  remi 
niscences,  for  it  must  be  remembered  Brichanteau, 
who  deems  himself  a  great  actor,  has  reached  the 
stage  in  his  succession  of  failures,  at  which  he  is 
a  starter  of  bicycle  races.  This  book  of  M.  Clare- 
tie's  is  the  reminiscential  monologue  of  a  "crushed 
tragedian"  on  the  last  of  his  uppers,  still  satisfied 
of  his  own  superiority,  and  content  to  start  races 
because  he  knows  he  does  it  in  the  grand,  inimi 
table  manner.  It  is  art  to  him.  Well,  at  Perpignan 
Brichanteau  was  acting.  One  acts  where  one  can. 
Even  there,  there  were  lovers  of  art.  For  them  he 
acted,  so  what  did  he  care  ?  The  Perpignan  Argus 
had  an  art  critic;  "the  Jules  Janin  of  Rivesaltes" 
he  was  called.  The  critic  "roasted"  Brichanteau, 
called  him  "a  strolling  player."  Brichanteau  was 
advised  to  make  terms  with  the  critic.  Never !  He 
would  not  sue  for  mercy  *<  He  recognized  the 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


117 


critic's  duty  &  But  Brichanteau's  portrait  of  the 
critic  is  admirable  in  its  searching  sarcasm.  You 
have  the  motives  of  the  French  critic  laid  bare. 
This  one  was  "practicing  in  the  provinces,"  before 
going  up  to  Paris,  to  terrorize  the  great  ones  of 
the  stage.  Brichanteau  seeks  out  the  critic,  stares 
him  in  the  face  and  passes  on  «<  The  critic  flays 
Brichanteau's  acting  in  The  Pirates  of  the  Savane, 
tells  him  to  "  go  be  a  vaquero  in  a  circus  and  ply 
the  lasso."  Worst  of  all,  the  critic  captures  Brich 
anteau's  sweetheart,  Jeanne  Horly,  and  leads  her 
away  to  his  rooms  &  This  was  one  of  the  critic's 
perquisites.  Women  gave  themselves  to  him  for 
"  nice  notices."  J.J.&&&&&&&& 
"The  Jules  Janin  of  Rivesaltes"  "roasts"  Brich 
anteau  steadily,  but,  nevertheless,  Brichanteau 
receives  his  wreath.  He  will  not  play  in  any  the 
atre  if  the  manager  will  not  let  him  be  presented 
with  a  wreath.  Brichanteau  carries  his  wreath  with 
him.  He  writes  the  speeches  with  which  it  is  pre 
sented.  He  eulogizes  himself  in  the  language  of 
chastened  reverence,  through  the  lips  of  the  girl 
who  delivers  the  address.  He  is  the  priest  of  him 
self,  apotheosizes  himself.  It  is  all  done  in  a  serious 


118 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


way,  too,  with  just  a  little  wistful  laughter  coining 
out  now  and  then  from  under  his  heroics.  What! 
The  world  will  not  recognize  Brichanteau  ?  Very 
well.  The  world  is  a  dolt.  It  does  n't  know  art  or 
artists  «<  He  recognizes  and  celebrates  himself. 
This  incident  of  the  self -presented  wreath  is  as 
funny  as,  and  much  finer  in  fun  than,  Smollett's 
Dinner  of  the  Ancients,  and  yet  has  a  secondary 
touch  of  pathos  in  the  megalomania,  of  the  man. 
As  Brichanteau  describes  it,  it  is  simply  the  acme 
of  delicious  self-deception.  His  speech  to  himself 
reminds  one  of  Falstaf  Ps  praise  of  himself  when 
he  speaks  as  the  King  to  the  wild  Prince  Hal.  It 
has  not  Sir  John's  unction,  but  it  has  an  unction 
of  its  own,  although  it  is  rarer  and  along  more 
ideal  lines,  all  unconscious  of  sarcasm  £>  <&  & 
The  critic  assails  the  wreath-presentation.  Brich 
anteau  hunts  him  up  and  challenges  him.  Brich 
anteau,  as  the  aggrieved  person,  chooses  the  lasso 
as  his  weapon  &  In  a  play  called  The  Gaucho 
Brichanteau  has  a  part  in  which  he  has  occasion 
to  apostrophize  the  lasso.  He  thunders  the  lines, 
lines  of  awful,  yellow,  dramatic  toplof ticality,  at 
the  critic  who  watches  the  play  in  a  box.  Here  is 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


119 


one  of  the  lines:  "I  will  use  against  thee  the 
weapon  of  the  peons  and  the  Gauchos,  vile  wretch, 
and  I  will  drag  thee  to  my  hacienda,  hanging  from 
my  saddle  like  a  strangled  jaguar."  The  audience 
went  wild.  Brichanteau  has  scorned  the  critic  and 
larruped  him,  metaphorically,  with  the  lasso.  The 
critic  demanded  an  apology.  Never!  Brichanteau 
would  have  to  fight.  Very  well,  then,  he  would 
fight  with  the  lasso.  Of  course  the  critic  would 
not  fight  that  way.  His  friends  "posted"  Brichan 
teau  &  &  &  jfi  &  &  &  &>  jfi  ^  &  &  & 
But  Brichanteau  was  satisfied  with  himself.  He 
had  crushed  the  critic,  who  went  to  Paris  and  grew 
rich,  deserting  Brichanteau's  sweetheart,  Jeanne 
Horly.  Contemplating  the  critic's  success,  later,  in 
Paris,  Brichanteau  says,  "  All  the  same,  had  it  not 
been  for  the  lasso,  'the  Jules  Janin  of  Rivesaltes' 
might  have  stayed  down  at  Perpignan.  It  was  I — 
I,  Brichanteau,  who  enriched  Paris  with  him."  He 
forgave  his  enemy,  this  hero  of  the  mock  heroic. 
Q  Another  farcical  incident  is  the  incident  of  the 
card-photograph.  That  is  to  say,  it  is  farcical  to 
the  reader,  but  it  makes  you  pity  poor  Brichan 
teau.  It  is  just  a  little  romance  of  his  that  turns 


120 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


out  to  make  him  riciculous.  It  is  what  we  might 
call  the  story  of  an  actor's  "mash."  &  He  gives 
his  picture  to  a  woman.  He  thinks  she  recognizes 
him  for  what  he  thinks  he  is  and  loves  him.  His 
capacity  for  idealization  comes  into  play  to  build 
up  around  himself  and  "the  English  lady"  a  grand 
romance.  She  asks  for  his  photograph.  He  dreams 
of  a  duel  with  her  husband,  and  the  end  of  his 
fancies  is  that  he  finds  her  husband  regards  the 
picture  of  the  great  Brichanteau  as  a  mascot  to 
enable  him  to  "break  the  bank  at  Monte  Carlo." 
Gamblers  regard  all  "  freaks "  as  mascots.  What 
says  Brichanteau  to  the  farcical  ending  of  his 
romance?  Only  this  sentence  of  pathetic-humorous 
regret:  "Although  a  fetich  for  him,  I  have  never, 
alas,  brought  myself  any  luck."  &  &  &  &  & 
There  is  a  chapter  devoted  to  Brichanteau's  tri 
umph  as  Louis  XL  that  is  rich  in  sarcastic  por 
trayal  of  the  difficulties  of  provincial  presentation. 
Of  course,  Brichanteau's  triumph  is  a  triumph 
solely  to  himself  **  As  he  tells  it,  it  is  great ;  but 
beyond  him  you  can  see  and  hear  the  crowd  laugh 
ing  at  him  for  the  way  he  "  chewed  up  the  scen 
ery."  To-day  and  in  this  country  we  would  call 


THELAWOFLOVE  m 

Brichanteau  a  bum  actor,  and  that  he  surely  was, 
but  not  in  his  own  opinion.  *<  The  irony  of  the 
approval  he  received  escaped  him.  At  best  he  was 
a  "hit"  only  in  an  out-of-the-way  place,  at  Com- 
piegne  <£•  But  to  him  the  praise,  the  bravos,  the 
compliments  were  as  sweet  as  though  he  had  won 
them  at  the  Comedie  Francaise.  Sincere,  pitiably 
sincere,  as  he  was  himself,  he  was  blessed  with 
the  insanity  of  believing  that  he  attained  the  height 
he  craved,  and  that  all  around  him  were  as  sincere 

ashee^e^^e^^e^^e^^^^e^e^ 

Brichanteau's  sally  from  besieged  Paris,  his  cap 
ture  by  the  beleaguers  and  his  wild  scheme  to 
kidnap  the  German  Emperor  and  enforce  a  rais 
ing  of  the  siege — these  are  all  incidents  which  to 
be  enjoyed,  must  be  read  in  full  *<  His  scheme 
failed,  of  course,  but  Brichanteau  lived  in  a  dream 
of  immortality  as  France's  savior,  while  the  ridic 
ulous  project  occupied  his  fantastic  mind.  He  had 
it  all  figured  out  like  a  play,  the  things  he  would 
do,  the  attitudes  he  would  strike,  the  fine  lines 
like  those  of  Moliere  or  Hugo  or  Shakespeare, 
that  he  would  say  on  this  occasion  or  in  that  situa 
tion.  The  failure  did  not  undecefve  him.  He  felt 


122  THELAWOFLOVE 

that  he  would  have  accomplished  his  end,  but  for 
the  capitulation  «/*  He  had  lived  it  to  successful 
accomplishment  in  his  dream  anyhow,  and  it  was 
one  of  his  treasures  of  glory.  Brichanteau  could 
not  conceive  of  a  universe  without  himself  as  the 
heroic  center  thereof.  How  young  his  heart  was; 
just  like  the  boy  who  is  the  hero  of  each  novel  he 
reads  &&&&&&&&&&&&& 
The  story  of  Brichanteau's  trial  as  an  actor  at  the 
Conservatory,  when  he  first  took  to  the  stage,  is 
a  graphic  picture  of  an  important  function  in  the 
artist-life  of  Paris  &  It  is  given  with  rare  humor 
and  irony  and  with  a  fine  sense  of  pity  for  those 
who  are  mistaken  in  their  estimate  of  their  voca 
tion  or  of  their  abilities.  Brichanteau  had  a  tre 
mendous  voice.  He  bawled  before  the  judges.  He 
could  see  that  his  teacher  was  jealous  of  his  voice, 
and  that  made  him  roar  the  louder.  You  can  hear 
the  authorities  of  the  Conservatory  laughing  at 
Brichanteau's  fustian,  but  he  could  not.  To  him, 
they  all  recognized  his  greatness  and  conspired 
against  him.  He  repeats  their  ironical  compliments. 
He  sees  the  tragic  and  the  comic  in  all  the  other 
candidates  and  hits  off  either  in  most  telling 


THELAWOFLOVE  123 

fashion,  and  this  it  is  that  really  makes  piteous  his 
inability  rightly  to  estimate  himself.  Now  and  then 
there  drops  into  his  recital  a  little  note  that  finds 
your  heart,  as  when  he  thinks  on  the  day  he  gains 
only  a  "mention,"  that  his  parents  are  happier 
dead,  that  they  do  not  witness  his  failure  **  He 
could  think  of  this  even  while  he  felt  that  his 
failure  was  due  to  jealousy  on  the  part  of  his 
judges.  His  only  comfort  was  little  Jenny  Valadon. 
They  lived  upon  love  in  a  garret.  His  career  as  a 
bad  actor  is  recited  in  terrible  detail,  when  you 
think  of  the  heart-break  in  it  all,  which  he  con 
ceals  beneath  a  sort  of  wistful  humor  <&  But  he 
consoled  himself.  He  had  imaginary  triumphs.  He 
had  been  kings,  heroes,  geniuses,  all  the  charac 
ters  of  great  associations  in  the  French  drama. 
They  were  all  real  to  him.  The  imaginary  glories 
fattened  him.  They  gilded  his  destitution.  Truly 
comical  as  the  delusion  seems  at  times,  one  almost 
can  cry  for  Brichanteau,  ranting  thro'  life  under 
the  impression  that  he  was  an  unappreciated 
Talma,  and  all  the  crowd  giggling  inextinguisha 
bly  at  his  immense  voice  and  giving  him  jeering 
applause.  That  voice !  Little  Jenny  killed  herself 


124  THELAWOFLOVE 

trying  to  act  up  to  it.  Brichanteau  roared  on  the 
stage.  She  tore  out  her  throat  and  lungs  to  equal 
him,  for  what  he  did  was  right,  to  her.  They  had 
to  part,  and  whither  she  went  befpre  going  to  the 
grave,  one  may  guess.  Brichanteau  mourned  her 
as  a  sweet  sacrifice  to  his  voice,  to  Art  ^  **  «* 
Of  course  Brichanteau  admired  the  great  Napo 
leon,  as  a  true  Frenchman  **  His  admiration  for 
Napoleon  was  great,  not  only  because  Napoleon 
was  a  grand  character,  but  because  he  had 
appeared  in  plays  in  which  Napoleon  was  a  char 
acter,  and  once  or  twice  had  played  Napoleon 
himself.  There  is  a  fine  scene  in  the  book,  in  which 
our  hero  quarrels  with  another  disappointed  actor 
over  Napoleon.  The  other  old  actor,  Dauberval, 
denounced  Napoleon  as  an  enemy  of  art  &  The 
scene  in  which  the  two  actors  develop  their  quar 
rel  is  well  contrived  to  show  us  Brichanteau's  loy 
alty.  He  said  that  if  Napoleon  liked  old  tragedies 
and  "  stuff  "  it  was  not  Napoleon's  fault  that  Vic 
tor  Hugo  came  later.  Dauberval  maintained  that 
Napoleon  was  an  idiot  w*  Brichanteau  leaves  his 
house.  "  I  am  not  a  Bonapartist,"  he  says,  "  but 
my  heart  remembers.  So  many  recalls  in  that  role, 


THELAWOFLOVE  125 

I,  who  had  played  Remond  in  L'Empereur  et  le 
Soldat,  say  that  Napoleon  was  an  idiot?  Wipe 
out  my  past  at  a  single  stroke  ?  "  Brichanteau  was 
Napoleon,  the  happy,  old  hallucinant  ^  &  & 
It  was  a  great  day  when  it  came,  the  day  for  the 
casting  of  Montescure's  statue  of  "The  Roman 
Soldier,"  or  of  Brichanteau,  for  had  not  the  actor 
vowed  that  he  and  the  sculptor  should  be  immor 
talized  in  bronze  at  Garigat-sur-Garonne  ?  *<  The 
town  had  agreed  to  purchase  that  work  J>  The 
mayor  had  the  idea  that  the  event  would  bring 
a  minister  to  the  town  for  the  dedication,  and  the 
minister  would  give  the  mayor  the  Cross  of  the 
Legion  &  Montescure,  who  had  asked  for  bread, 
was  to  be  given  a  stone,  like  Butler,  author  of 
Hudibras.  It  was  a  great  day,  not  only  that  Mon 
tescure  was  to  be  avenged,  but  because  it  was 
Sebastien  Brichanteau  they  were  going  to  cast. 
He  knew  that  all  present  knew  that  the  statue 
was  he.  He  mused:  "That  metal,  Brichanteau,  is 
your  image  still  in  liquid  form  *<  That  bronze  in 
fusion  is  your  statue.  That  blazing  stream  is,  per 
haps,  your  forehead;  those  bursts  of  flame  are 
from  your  eyes."  £•  An  excellent  Brocken  scene, 


126  THELAWOFLOVE 

should  he  ever  play  Faust  &  What  if  the  metal 
should  give  out  ?  &  He  remembered  Benvenuto 
Cellini  in  like  case,  for  had  he  not  played  Ben 
venuto  once  ?  He  enacted  the  part  of  Cellini  all 
over  again.  Ah,  if  he  ever  should  play  it  again, 
what  new  meaning  he  would  be  able  to  put  in 
the  line,  "Ah,  if  blood  could  be  hardened  into 
bronze ! "  At  last  it  is  over.  Brichanteau  exclaims : 
"  I  was  cast,  like  Cellini's  Jupiter."  &  When  the 
mold  was  broken  he  gazed  upon  himself  &  rhap 
sodized.  Hope  was  high.  He  was  to  conquer  Fate. 
But  the  statue  never  was  dedicated.  Brichanteau 
never  heard  himself  apostrophized  in  the  Roman. 
He  had  no  chance  to  read  a  poem  <&  The  statue 
remains  in  a  shed.  Still  Brichanteau  never  des 
pairs.  He  will  arrange  a  benefit  to  raise  Montes- 
cure's  disguised  statue  of  Brichanteau  in  the  bright 
sunlight  &  &£•<£•  &  &  &  &  &  &  &  £> 
Brichanteau's  sketch  of  an  actor's  funeral  is  a 
marvel  of  what  bitterness  may  underlie  even  the 
pathetic  note  in  fun.  The  actor  Panazol  is  buried 
with  services  at  which  what  was  to  have  been  a 
eulogy  turns  out  to  be  a  criticism  and  a  cruel  one. 
An  actor  cannot  speak  unreserved  praise  of  even 


THELAWOFLOVE  127 

a  dead  fellow  mummer.  Another  actor  arises  to 
say  something  over  the  grave,  forgets  his  memo 
rized  speech  and  begins  to  declaim  from  a  part 
he  is  then  studying  ^jfi^^jfi^jfi^Ji 
We  may  pass  over  the  glories  of  the  old  days,  as 
Brichanteau  remembers  them,  with  all  their  roles. 
He  goes  to  America,  but  is  taken  with  cholera  at 
Havana.  He  returns  to  France.  He  is  getting  old. 
He  goes  down  hill,  but  the  hunger  of  the  ideal, 
the  appetite  for  applause  does  not  die  ^  He  still 
stood  erect  in  his  pride  «*  He  was,  he  declared, 
steadfast  to  art.  "  Even  when  you  play  subordi 
nate  roles,"  said  he  to  himself,  "  you  play  them  in 
genuine  theatres  and  in  works  of  art  *<  You  will 
die  with  the  drama,  Brichanteau.  You  have  and 
you  will  keep  immaculate  your  self-esteem."  He 
would  not  take  a  pension.  He  would  not  appear 
in  a  cafe  chantant.  But  he  became  a  starter  for 
the  bicycle  races.  He  shouted  "Go!"  That  grand 
voice  had  not  lost  its  magnificence.  "Go,"  he  says. 
"  You  hear  that  note  ?  Go !  Yes,  the  voice  still  has 
its  trumpet  tone."  &  It  is  art  even  to  start  bicycle 
races.  It  is  to  be  done  with  all  one's  soul.  He  shuts 
his  eyes  as  he  says  "  Go,"  sometimes,  and  imagines 


128  THELAWOFLOVE 

that  he  is  giving  the  signal  for  an  epic  duel  as  in 
La  Dame  de  Monsoreau.  And  he  listens  for  the 
clash  of  swords,  the  resounding  roar  of  applause. 
He  starts  by  firing  a  pistol,  and  he  breathes  the 
powder  of  the  old  days.  Then  he  tells  the  story  of 
a  tenor  with  a  bad  memory  who,  on  his  first  night, 
being  billed  in  the  Huguenots,  rushes  on  the  stage 
and  sings  Robert  le  Diable.  This  tenor  he  knows 
well.  He  laughs  at  the  tenor's  idea  that  he  was 
crushed  by  a  conspiracy.  «^  The  tenor  is  now  a 
policeman  and  he  maintains  that  he  performed  a 
great  feat  in  lyric  art,  did  an  immortal  thing  in 
giving  a  rendition  of  two  of  Myerbeer's  operas 
at  once.  Brichanteau  winks  in  his  sleeve  at  the 
delusion,  but  he  is  certain  that  he  was  kept  out 
of  the  Comedie  Francaise  by  Beauvallet's  jealousy 
of  his  voice  &  He  sees  the  mote,  not  the  beam. 
Q  Old  and  still  older  he  grows,  more  shabby- 
genteel,  but  with  a  knightly  manner  of  leaning 
upon  his  umbrella,  as  if  it  were  a  rapier.  There  is 
sadness  in  his  eyes.  But  he  still  remembers  "  The 
Roman  Under  the  Yoke."  That  statue  will  yet  be 
dedicated — dedicated  to  the  long  dead  sculptor 
and  to  Brichanteau,  his  model.  He  bestirs  himself 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


129 


for  that  end.  He  will  arrange  a  benefit.  He  finds 
an  old  sweetheart  in  a  madhouse.  She  does  not 
know  him.  She  has  forgotten  the  old  days.  They 
had  been  happy  together,  he  and  the  grisette, 
who  was  the  victim  of  a  drunken  husband.  He 
rehearses  her  story.  The  woman  had  loved  him. 
She  had  sworn  by  her  father's  head  that  she  never 
loved  but  one  being  in  the  world,  himself  &  He 
would  add  his  sweetheart's  name  to  the  benefit 
program  <&  He  would  raise  funds  to  dedicate 
the  statue  and  to  keep  her  in  tobacco  and  a  few 
delicacies.  He  tells  of  his  petitioning  the  great, 
climbing  the  staircases  of  the  successful  actors.  He 
describes  their  willingness  to  aid,  and  incidentally, 
their  vanity  and  mercenariness.  T  is  a  pretty  yet 
a  sad  tale  of  devotion.  The  benefit  is  arranged;  he 
has  secured  a  lot  of  great  names.  The  day  arrives. 
The  audience  gathers.  The  owners  of  the  great 
names  withdraw.  They  will  not  appear  with  cer 
tain  other  successes  «^  They  will  not  come  after 
rivals  on  the  bill.  Brichanteau  undertakes  to  take 
the  places  of  them  all.  Such  a  performance!  He 
is  the  Proteus  of  the  evening  &  But  the  affair  is 
not  a  success.  He  has  not  made  any  money  for 


130 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


the  statue  or  for  his  old  love's  easement  in  her 
madhouse.  He  is  in  despair.  An  old  actor  friend 
appears.  It  is  Lanteclave.  He  has  a  pension.  He 
will  contribute  to  the  benefit  performance,  for 
his  pension  comes  from  the  "  Association  of  Ar 
tists/'  which  Brichanteau  never  would  join.  Lant 
eclave  will  do  this  for  Montescure's  statue  and 
for  Virginie,  for  our  Virginie  &  £>  jfi  *&  &  jfi 
"Our"  was  the  word.  Lanteclave  recalls  Lyons, 
of  the  old  days,  when  he  was  in  the  company  with 
Brichanteau  and  Virginie,  who  had  sworn  on  her 
father's  head  that  she  never  loved  any  one  but 
Brichanteau.  "Yes,  yes,  yes,"  says  Brichanteau. 
Q  "  Do  you  remember  that,  sometimes,  when  you 
were  waiting  for  the  mistress  over  Perrache  Way, 
she  told  you  she  had  a  tooth  to  be  looked  after 
and  that  she  had  been  detained  by  the  dentist  ?  " 
Q" Do  I  remember?" 

"  Look  you,  Brichanteau,  she  no  more  had  a  tooth 
to  be  attended  to  than  you  had.  The  dentist,  my 
dear  boy,  the  dentist " — 
"Was  you?" 

"Another  illusion  swept  away."  Says  Brichanteau: 
"  He  had  the  good  taste  to  assure  me  that  Vir- 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


131 


ginie  passed  her  sessions  with  him  protesting  that 
she  adored  me,  and  that  she  did  not  know  why 
she  deceived  me.  Perhaps  it  was  because  Lante- 
clave  sang  Beranger's  songs  extremely  well."  & 
Brichanteau  held  music  an  inferior  art  to  acting. 
He  admitted  it  seemed  a  bitter  thing  to  have 
climbed  so  many  staircases,  and  to  have  played 
"Le  Beneficiare"  without  prof  it,  to  find  that  "the 
last  little  rosy  dream  was  a  soap-bubble,  which 
burst  like  the  others."  This  is  the  end.  He  aban 
dons  the  statue,  leaves  himself  to  be  tossed  about 
as  old  metal  in  the  foundry.  His  illusions  were 
with  his  youth,  in  the  ash-heap.  The  bicycle  races 
would  give  him  bread  &&&&&&&J' 
Illusions,  all — Love,  Glory,  Art!  Poor  Brichanteau! 
And  yet  not  poor  either.  He  had  possessed  them 
all  in  his  dreams  </*  He  had  had  them  in  and  of 
himself.  Are  not  the  illusions  of  all  of  us  the  only 
realities  ?  Are  they  not  better,  to  those  of  us  who 
have  such  illusions,  than  the  realities  of  others  ? 
Only  the  ideal  is  eternal,  untouched  by  the  cor 
ruption  that  is  in  the  clay,  and  only  to  be  found, 
if  at  all,  when  we  are  gathered  to  the  bosom  of 
"just  and  mighty  Death."  &  Only  our  dreams,  if 


132 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


anything,  come  true  &  They  are  ours,  ours  only 
while  we  have  them.  Awakening  cannot  rob  us 
of  them.  Brichanteau's  dreams  were  true.  Only 
the  realities  on  which  they  were  built  were  false 
and  faded  away.  Why  should  we  pity  him  after 
all  ?  <£  Were  it  not  better  that  we  should  emulate 
him  ?  He  dreamed  dreams  that  transmuted  all  his 
dross  to  gold,  changed  the  cup  of  gall  to  wine, 
ennobled  even  his  own  pettinesses,  brightened 
and  touched  to  charity  all  about  him.  The  world 
did  not  come  up  to  his  conception.  So  much  the 
worse  for  the  world.  Come,  let  us  dream !  ^  ^ 


A    GOLDEN    BOOK 


UL  &  sense  are  not  wholly 
separate.  The  world,  under 
the  spell  of  a  vicious  asceti 
cism,  has  been  used  to  re 
gard  the  two  as  not  only  sep 
arate  but  antagonistic.  The 
spirituality  of  the  sensuous 
is  the  saner  part  of  the  mes 
sage  of  that  movement  in  letters  which  has  been 
called  the  Decadence  &£•£•&&&&& 
We  Anglo-Saxons  are  too  much  enamored  of  the 
evident,  too  much  content  with  the  direct.  In  our 
materiality  we  are,  even  in  our  ideals  of  art,  some 
what  coarse.  We  have  not  that  flair  for  the  subtle 
suggestions  that  lie  behind  things  which  charac 
terize  the  Latins.  We  are  too  much  devoted  to 
action,  which,  Frederick  Amiel  has  declared,  is, 
at  its  best,  only  coarsened  thought.  We  put  more 
energy  into  life.  We  do  not  get  so  much  out  of  it. 
This  is  because  we  do  not  cultivate  the  senses  to 
that  acuteness  and  sensitiveness  which,  so  to 
speak,  enables  the  eye  to  apprehend  the  invisible, 
the  ear  to  encompass  the  inaudible,  and  all  the 
sensory  organs  to  contribute  pleasure  through 
emotions  that  are  almost  as  vague  as  premoni 
tions.  Our  souls  can  only  be  found  with  a  club, 


136 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


when  our  hearts  should  be  reached  with  a  stab 
of  a  shaft  of  perfume,  or  our  spirits  lifted  by  an 
appeal  of  color,  or  the  mind's  eye  opened  to  the 
greater  glories  in  the  shapeliness  of  sound  and 

itS      hueS       e^^e^^e^^e^^^^e^^ 

We  have  exalted  the  soul  too  much,  through  a 
misconception  of  it.  It  is  nothing  without  the  body. 
The  body  gives  the  soul  its  form  and  effect;  its 
character.  It  is  the  body,  really,  which  makes  for 
individuality.  It  is  the  body  which  variegates  the 
soul  to  the  world's  eye,  just  as  Shelley  says,  "Life, 
like  a  dome  of  many-colored  glass,  stains  the  white 
radiance  of  Eternity."  &  The  body  is  an  equally 
integral  part  of  man  with  the  soul,  equally  divine. 
It  is  as  much  the  care  of  the  Infinite,  according 
to  Christianity ;  else  why  the  doctrine  of  the  res 
urrection  of  the  flesh  ?  Through  the  body  the  soul 
makes  itself  manifest.  Without  the  body  the  soul 
is  unknown.  It  may  exist  apart,  but  what  eye  hath 
seen  or  ear  heard  it  ?  It  may  exist  as  "  the  raw 
material,"  but  the  body  is  the  stamp  with  which 
it  is  coined  by  the  Creator  £>  &  &  J>  &  &  & 
The  senses  are  of  the  body.  They  are  the  body's 
response  in  thought  &  feeling  to  physical  impacts 


THELAWOFLOVE  137 

and  contacts.  They  are,  thus,  very  material.  They 
are  the  result  of  resisted  motion,  vibrations  of 
light,  of  sound,  the  impinging  of  molecules  upon 
tongue  or  nasal  membrane.  They  are  the  seat  of 
the  soul.  They  are  the  means  whereby  we  learn, 
and  by  comparison  of  their  operations  we  reason. 
The  senses  are  the  ingredients  of  every  emotion 
and  the  core  of  every  thought.  The  soul  is  spread 
all  over  the  body,  just  as  the  body  is  one  vast 
brain  by  reason  of  the  nerves.  The  body  is  the 
life  &  The  soul — why,  it  cannot  dream  but  its 
fancies  are  regulated  by  the  operation  of  forces 
in  the  body  &&&&&&&&&&& 
The  sensuous  is  the  beautiful,  always,  everywhere. 
There  is  no  rapture  so  pure  but  it  has  to  be  trans 
lated  for  expression  into  the  terms  of  the  senses. 
There  is  nothing  in  life  that  is  not,  when  resolved 
into  essentials,  bodily.  The  soul  is  only  the  body's 
highest  function,  the  focus  of  all  the  senses.  There 
is,  so  far  as  we  know,  no  life  when  all  of  the 
senses  are  dead.  The  cases  of  Laura  Bridgman 
and  Helen  Keller  do  not  tend  to  the  disproving 
of  this  proposition.  The  "missing  senses"  in  those 
persons  are  not  missing;  they  are  concentrated  in 


138 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


other  senses  «<  Five  senses  may  center,  as  in  the 
case  of  the  latter  girl,  in  one.  The  senses  are,  it 
may  be  presumed,  one.  Touch  is  a  lower  sight, 
sight  a  swifter  hearing,  smell  a  modification  of 
touch,  and  hearing  and  taste  the  same.  There  is 
a  strong  probability  that  light  and  sound  and  heat 
are  the  same  force.  There  is  a  probability,  equally 
strong,  that  the  senses  are  but  the  soul  diffused 
in  different  parts  of  the  body  ^  ^  j*  ^  <&  <£ 
And  why  should  such  a  gospel  and  its  preachers 
be  anathema?  Did  not  God  take  upon  Himself, 
without  derogation,  a  body?  If  He  became  Man, 
the  Divine  experiment  would  have  been  a  failure 
if  He  became  not  a  complete  man;  if  He  did  not 
feel  all  that  man  feels  and  catch  the  tinge  of  the 
bodily  envelope,  if  He  knew  not  all  the  ecstasies 
of  the  flesh,  which  we  have  been  taught  to  call 
sin,  as  well  as  the  pain  of  death  &  &  <&  ^  & 
To  the  English-speaking  world  this  gospel  of  the 
divinity  of  the  body  has  always  worn  an  aspect 
of  blasphemy.  The  Epicurean  doctrine  has  been 
enormously  misunderstood  as  being  a  philosophy 
of  the  pig-sty.  The  regard  for  the  senses  has  been 
held  to  be  purely  debasing  in  every  respect,  and 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


139 


the  very  word  hedonism  has  come  to  mean  name 
less  things.  This  doctrine  of  pleasure  has  suffered 
to  a  vast  degree  by  reason  of  the  fact  that  the 
last  most  conspicuous  hedonist,  or,  rather,  pro 
fessor  of  hedonism,  was  most  colossally  disgraced. 
There  is,  however,  nothing  in  common  between 
the  philosophic  Epicureanism  and  the  unspeakable 
corruption  that  corruscated,  like  the  rotting  mack 
erel  in  the  moonlight,  in  that  ghastly  romance, 
"The  Picture  of  Dorian  Gray."  True  Epicureanism 
teaches  only  a  sane  enjoyment  of  the  senses,  co 
ordinating  them  all  into  a  great  reasonableness. 
The  senses,  or,  if  you  will,  the  passions,  are  not 
wholly  evil :  not  the  veriest  Puritan  will  claim  that 
much  &  The  senses  are  to  be  enjoyed,  not  solely 
for  their  exercise,  but  they  are  to  be  blended  and 
at  the  same  time  held  in  restraint,  the  reason 
mastering  their  exercise  and  utilizing  them  in  the 
interpretation  of  the  world,  and  in  obtaining  a 
calm  grasp  of  the  fullness  of  life,  so  far  as  may 
be,  for  the  purpose  of  making  the  highest  use  of 
life.  It  may  be  pointed  out  that  Herbert  Spencer 
is  himself  much  of  an  Epicurean,  much  of  an 
hedonist,  much  of  a  materialist  in  many  ways, 


140 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


and  yet  no  one  in  the  pursuit  of  happiness,  accord 
ing  to  the  Spencerian  idea,  has,  by  virtue  of  that 
method,  become  fastened  in  the  quagmire  of  the 
corruption  of  the  flesh.  The  senses  are  the  media 
for  the  enjoyment  of  pleasure.  Happiness  is  the 
end  of  existence  &  The  attainment  of  happiness, 
while  keeping  rational  control  of  the  media  of 
pleasurable  perception,  so  that  our  attainment 
may  not  inflict  discomfort  or  pain  upon  others,  is 
the  Spencerian  ideal  of  life's  object,  very  broadly 
stated,  of  course  &&&&£•&£•£•£•& 
The  modern  idea  of  the  Epicurean  doctrine  is  a 
very  wrong  one.  It  has  been  held  to  be  a  philoso 
phy  of  sensuality,  whereas,  in  fact,  it  is  a  philosophy 
only  of  the  highest  utilization  of  the  sensuous.  If 
the  doctrine  were  ever  set  forth  more  effectively, 
even  by  Epicurus  himself,  than  by  the  late  Walter 
Pater,  the  world  knows  not  the  name  of  the  ex 
pounder.  The  books  of  Walter  Pater  are  a  treasury 
of  the  cultus  of  the  sensuous.  They  are  volumes 
that  feed  one  with  a  craving  for  more.  They  are 
maddeningly  Barmecidal.  Such  sincere  prose  no 
one  in  these  later  days — not  even  Stevenson — has 
written.  Its  impeccability  is  reproachful.  It  mocks 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


141 


the  yearning  for  utterance  **  It  says  things  that 
are  not  in  the  mere  words  of  his  pen.  His  thought 
is  conveyed  along  his  sentences  as  mysteriously 
and  invisibly  as  a  message  is  conducted  by  a  tele 
graph  wire.  One  knows  not  if  the  communication 
proceeds  through  the  core  or  if  it  plays  around 
the  surface  *<  He  is  not  easily  understood  of  the 
many — he  thinks  so  finely  and  with  such  precision; 
but  to  read  him  is  to  know  the  eloquence  of 
speech  just  hovering  on  silence,  to  catch  hints  of 
the  inexpressible  in  expression  &  His  best  book, 
illustrating  his  refined  stylism  and  expounding 
his  calmly  sensuous  philosophy,  developing  even 
tually  into  a  tender  and  an  exalted  spirituality,  is 
Marias,  the  Epicurean.  It  is  the  soul-story  of  a 
man  whose  soul  was  his  senses  «*  It  is  a  pagan 
book,  but  it  most  soothingly  allures  one,  by  the 
very  pagan  beauty  of  it,  into  a  purely  sensuous  or 
sentimental  sympathy  with  Christianity  *£><*<£ 
The  development  of  a  Roman  youth  of  gentle 
sentiment  is  traced,  in  this  book,  with  an  exqui- 
siteness  of  depiction  that  is  almost  morbid  in 
restraint  <&  It  seems  that  sanity  would  not  be 
patient  enough  to  carve  and  polish,  and  select, 


142 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


and  chase,  and  tint  words  into  exact  conveyance 
of  thought  and  shades  of  thought  and  feeling  as 
Pater  has  done.  Even  the  punctuation  marks  are 
palpably  part  of  the  art,  have  a  significance  be 
yond  the  ordinary,  an  importance  as  of  notes  in 
music.  Now  the  language  is  like  music,  now  like 
mosaic ;  again  like  running  water  or  smiles,  and 
again  like  the  play  of  firelight  in  a  room  at  twi 
light.  The  language  holds  in  solution,  as  it  were, 
the  effects  of  all  the  arts  <£•  The  man  paints  and 
prays,  and  sings  and  sobs  with  his  pen.  At  times 
he  can  almost  convey  the  color  of  an  idea  and 
the  form  of  a  taste.  To  him  words  seem  to  have 
values  that  compel  their  adjustment  in  relation 
ship  to  one  another  in  such  wise,  that  no  one  may 
be  displaced  without  damage  to  the  meaning. 
Reading  Pater  one  is  reminded  that  there  is  a 
mysterious  spell  in  words  quite  independent  of 
their  meaning,  and  they  are  being  continually 
manipulated  by  this  master  so  as  to  produce  the 
effects  of  painting  and  of  music  «^  In  this  novel, 
though  now  and  then  the  author  speaks  from  the 
view-point  of  a  man  of  this  day,  the  atmosphere 
of  the  book  is  that  of  the  olden  time.  The  reader 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


143 


sees  the  world  far,  far  away.  The  very  sunshine 
upon  it  seems  old  <£  You  see  Rome  through  the 
eyes  of  a  philosopher  "  fighting  dim  battles  in  a 
doubtful  land  " — his  own  soul — and  the  life  of  the 
then  world  appeals  to  you  with  a  distant  sadness 
of  beauty  as  if  seen  from  the  quiet  Garden  of 
Proserpine.  The  material  world  is  there,  but  it  is 
the  world  of  sensations  and  ideas  of  the  time  of 
Marcus  Aurelius  that  is  most  in  evidence.  "The 
grandeur  that  was  Rome  "  is  lost  sight  of  in  the 
powerful  appeal  of  the  struggle  of  one  man's 
mind  and  heart  and  soul  to  reconcile  it  all  to  some 
reasonable  explanation  for  the  world's  existence. 
We  see  Rome  through  a  singularly  impressive 
temperament  and  with  the  eyes  of  a  man  upon  a 
sentimental  soul-journey  in  a  world  that  is  beau 
tiful  to  his  senses,  but,  at  the  beginning,  meaning 
less  to  his  intelligence.  In  the  main  the  life  of  the 
hero  of  this  tale  is  a  life  not  of  action  «*  It  is  the 
life  of  a  man  naturally  and  preferably  pure  in  a 
time  of  flagrant  art  £•  Marius  is  a  "  man  of  feel 
ing,"  a  fine  instrument  upon  which  every  aspect 
of  the  world  causes  to  be  played  some  melody, 
always  of  a  minor  strain.  Marius  is  compact  of 


144  THE 

nothing  but  sensations  and  ideas  •£*  He  thinks 
almost  wholly  in  the  feelings,  lives  in  them  almost 
exclusively,  but  this  sensuousness  of  him  one 
soon  perceives  to  be  soulful  to  the  last  degree. 
He  wishes  to  find  the  secret  of  the  beauty  and 
the  glory  and  the  sadness  of  that  beauty  and  that 
glory  of  the  world.  Indeed,  one  realizes  for  the 
first  time  in  reading  this  novel,  what  a  pity  must 
have  underlain  all  that  frank  joyousness  of  the 
pagan  world  of  which  we  have  heard  so  much, 
at  least  to  the  men  of  culture  who  turned  from 
the  fantastic  mythological  explanations  of  things, 
accepted  readily  enough  by  the  common  herd, 
and  sought  for  the  heart  of  the  mystery  in  the 
philosophies  then  current  «*  The  old  order  was 
changing,  changing  incomprehensibly.  The  old 
systems  of  thought  were  being  found  incapable 
of  satisfying  certain  yearnings  for  which  there 
was  no  gratification  in  the  life  of  the  period.  It 
was  a  period  of  transition.  The  influences  making 
for  change  were  almost  wholly  indistinguishable. 
The  world  was  wearisome  even  in  its  beauty  that 
passed  away,  and  from  which  man  passed  away, 
without  any  definite  hope  or  any  definite  dread, 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


145 


but  with  only  a  regret  that  how  much  soever  he 
had  enjoyed  the  spectacle,  or  the  making  of  the 
spectacle  for  others,  the  grave  was  the  end  of  all. 
The  world  was  disillusioned.  The  learned  believed 
nothing  but  what  they  felt  and  saw.  The  intellec 
tuals  held  by  a  sort  of  melancholy  atheism,  but 
their  sentiment  for  the  beauty  and  the  mystery 
of  the  scene  of  which  they  were  a  part  prevented 
them  from  lapsing  into  an  anti-theism.  Christian 
ity  was  a  despised  sect.  Its  professors  were  bar 
barians  and  slaves.  Its  rites  were  foul  and  mur 
derous.  Its  doctrines  meant  the  overthrow  of  the 
State.  It  was  said  that  the  professors  of  the  new 
religion  were  the  votaries  of  hideous  vices.  Even 
the  good  Marcus  Aurelius  persecuted  them,  and 
Rome  wondered  at  their  fanaticism,  which  scorned 
death  and  even  sought  it,  and  at  the  miracles 
performed  by  the  blood  and  bones  of  those  of 
their  number  who  had  been  slain  for  their  belief. 
Of  such  people,  habitants  of  noisome  places,  un 
clean  in  mind  and  body,  the  great  world  of  Rome 
knew  and  cared  nothing.  The  new  creed  would 
be  stamped  out  in  a  short  time.  It  never  dawned 
upon  persons  of  the  rank  of  Marius  that  this  new, 


146  THELAWOFLOVE 

mad,  unintelligible  cult  was  the  new  order  to 
which  the  ferment  of  transition  in  their  own  po- 
etico-philanthropic  minds  and  weary  hearts  was 
irresistibly  tending  <£  The  Roman  world  scarcely 
gave  second  thought  to  this  new  creed,  or  if  it 
did,  it  was  only  to  laugh  at  it,  when  the  fashiona 
bles  were  not  enjoying  the  spectacle  of  the  fol 
lowers  of  the  crucified  Jew  being  thrown  to  the 
lions.  Of  this  sect  Marius,  born  in  the  country, 
had  no  knowledge  ataIl«jt«J*j*j*j*j*j* 
The  picture  of  the  rural  youth  of  Marius,  of  his 
susceptibility  to  the  beauty,  the  pathos,  the  hint  of 
something  lovely  but  unsatisfying,  coming  from 
"  beyond  the  flaming  ramparts  of  the  world,"  in 
common  things  no  less  than  in  the  forms  of  "  the 
religion  of  Numa,"  is  a  triumph  of  the  presenta 
tion  of  subjective  moods.  Perhaps  Pater  is  anach 
ronistic  in  endowing  Marius  with  such  acute  sen 
sibility  to  nature  as  here  shown,  for  love  of  nature 
is  a  modern  development,  but  the  anachronism 
may  be  suffered  to  pass  in  consideration  of  its 
artistic  truth.  The  sense  of  Marius'  removal  from 
his  time  is  suggested  so  powerfully  that  the  very 
sunshine  of  the  days  in  which  he  lived  seems 


LOVE 147 

shining  on  the  page  with  some  special,  ancient, 
archaic  quality  of  light.  The  growth  of  the  boy 
into  the  man  and  of  the  desire  for  beauty,  which 
was  gratified  and  yet  not  gratified  in  the  life  and 
the  visible,  tangible  world  about  him,  the  slow 
growth  of  pity  into  piety  after  his  mother's  death, 
the  development  of  a  certain  strong,  sane  scrupu 
lousness  of  thought  and  conduct  into  a  sort  of 
wistful  elegance,  the  beginning  of  his  first  friend 
ship  with  Flavian,  who  might  be  characterized  as 
an  immeasurably  idealized  predecessor  of  Steer- 
forth,  who  introduces  him  to  Roman  life  and  rep 
resented  at  once  "  the  depth  of  its  corruption  and 
its  perfection  of  form" — all  these  things  are 
shown  with  a  touch  of  magically  sympathetic 
feeling  expressed  in  rare  preciosity  of  style.  It  is 
Flavian  who  leads  Marius  to  read  Apuleius'  book, 
The  Ass,  and  incidental  to  the  interpretation  of 
the  meaning  of  that  exquisite  and  yet  grotesque 
first  novel  there  is  a  translation  by  Pater  of  The 
Story  of  Cupid  and  Psyche,  that  has  already  been 
enrolled  among  "the  little  classics"  of  the  English 
language.  Following  upon  a  calmly  eloquent  crit 
icism  of  the  euphuism  of  the  time,  its  literary, 


148  THELAWOFLOVE 

sophistic,  artistic  dandyism,  and  the  descriptions 
of  some  perfect  days  on  the  water,  comes  "the 
pagan  end"  of  Flavian,  dying  of  a  fever  £•  The 
dumb  courage  and  despair  of  the  young  exqui 
site's  passing,  his  struggle  "to  arrest  this  or  that 
little  drop,  at  least,  from  the  river  of  sensuous 
imagery  rushing  so  quickly  past  him,"  and  the 
impressions  of  the  incidents  of  dying  upon  Marius, 
are  fine  with  a  fineness  beyond  any  mere  real 
ism.  "Is  it  a  comfort,"  whispered  Marius,  "that  I 
shall  often  come  and  weep  over  you ?"  "Not  un 
less  I  be  aware  and  hear  you  weeping."  &  &  & 
There  are  more  vivid  descriptions  of  Rome  than 
that  which  Pater  gives  in  the  chapter  in  which  he 
brings  Marius  to  the  then  "  most  religious  city  of 
the  world,"  but  there  is  no  other  description 
which  conveys  the  soul  of  that  city,  concerned 
apparently  with  only  grandeur  and  form  and  the 
carnality  of  pleasure,  but  ever  and  always  suf 
fused  with  a  sadness  that  it  could  not  explain.  It 
is  here  that  Pater  introduces  that  Discourse  of 
Marcus  Aurelius,  a  condensation  of  the  famous 
Meditations,  which  contains  all  that  reason  may 
say  in  protest  against  the  vanity  of  all  things. 


THELAWOFLOVE  149 

Here,  too,  Pater  analyzes  the  Roman  amusements 
as  they  appealed  or  failed  to  appeal  to  Marius, 
and  gives  an  inkling  of  the  beginning  of  a  reali 
zation  in  the  world  that  there  was  something  to 
offend  the  finer  spirit  in  mere  brutality  and  re- 
gardlessness  of  pain.  It  was  under  Marcus  Aure- 
lius,  as  Pater  has  it,  that  civilization,  disappointed 
deeply  in  the  quest  of  happiness  through  the 
mind,  began  to  find  its  heart  and  to  develop  a 
rudimentary  charity  it  had  never  known  before. 
And  this  had  happened  coincidentally  with  another 
tendency  of  the  time,  presented  by  Pater  in  a 
raref  iedly  analytical  account  of  the  stoicism  of  the 
Roman  court,  a  stoicism  that  had  grown  into  a 
delicate  dilletante  culture  and  was  finally  lapsing 
into  a  perfunctory  formalism  &  coldness  of  heart 
in  practice  and  into  mere  rhetoric  in  expression. 
There  are  little  patches  of  transcript  from  actual 
life,  quite  casually  introduced,  to  relieve  the 
burden  of  tenuously  discursive  philosophizing. 
All  these  thoughts  and  things,  these  sensations 
and  ideas,  experienced,  observed  and  resolved 
in  the  mind  of  Marius  are  interpreted  by  Pater 
with  a  peculiarly  precise  and  curious  felicity  and 


150  THELAWOFLOVE 

with  a  truly  marvelous  capacity  for  identifica 
tion  of  himself  with  the  thought  and  fitting  him 
self  to  the  environment  of  old  time.  Marius,  think 
ing,  as  one  might  say,  with  his  sympathies,  and 
with  those  sympathies  repelled  by  every  philoso 
phy  that  he  knew,  comes  at  last  to  the  apprehen 
sion  of  the  Great  Ideal.  He  conceived  the  unre 
ality  of  the  things  about  him,  unless  they  were 
interpreted  by  something  beyond  and  without  the 
material,  and  grasped  the  full  significance  of  the 
hint  that  something  had  been  missing  hitherto  in 
his  enjoyments  and  even  in  his  sorrows  &  &  & 
Q  How,  finally,  Marius,  skeptic,  yet  believing, 
comes  into  contact  with  the  Christians  and  their 
philosophy  and  their  ceremonies,  and  how,  grad 
ually,  the  meaning  of  Christian  love  and  the  fer 
vency  of  Christian  hope  come  to  fill  up  for  him 
the  empty,  unsatisfying  spaces  in  the  rationally 
beautiful  philosophy  of  Marcus  Aurelius,  we  must 
leave  to  the  reader  to  find  out,  warning  him,  how 
ever,  that  to  the  man  looking  only  for  a  story,  this 
philosophical  novel  must  be  the  most  egregious 
of  disappointments.  Without  subscribing  to  any 
of  the  Christian  beliefs,  but  simply  observing  them 


THELAWOFLOVE  isi 

and  their  influences  upon  those  who  held  them, 
Marius  grew  to  find  a  certain  satisfaction  in  them. 
He  rises  absolutely  unconsciously  to  the  height 
of  self-sacrifice.  The  Epicurean  conies  to  know  a 
nameless  joy  in  suffering,  to  understand  a  deeper 
and  broader  meaning  in  the  natural  affections. 
All  the  philosophies  have  failed  and  peace  comes 
through  something  that  is  more  than  philosophy 
— through  Love.  "In  the  bare  sense  of  having 
loved,  he  seemed  to  find,"  when  captured  with 
the  hated  Christians,  infected  with  the  plague, 
and  dying,  as  he  well  knew,  "even  amid  this  foun 
dering  of  the  ship,  that  on  which  his  soul  might 
assuredly  rest  and  depend."  But  the  old  instinct 
of  the  artist,  the  craving  for  sense-satiation  is  on 
him;  he  looks  back  on  life  as  a  portion  of  a  race 
course  left  behind  him,  and  he  a  runner  still  swift 
of  foot;  he  experiences  a  singular  curiosity,  al 
most  an  ardent  desire,  to  enter  upon  a  future  the 
possibilities  of  which  seemed  so  large  <&*£<& 
We  find  him  wishing  to  die  like  an  artist,  craving 
for  a  fitness  in  the  finale.  He  thought  "that  not 
to  die  on  a  dark  or  rainy  day  might  itself  have  a 
little  alleviating  grace  or  favor  about  it."  In  the 


152 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


moments  of  his  extreme  helplessness,"  says  Pater, 
"their  (the  Christians')  mystic  bread  had  been 
placed,  and  descended  like  a  snowf lake  from  the 
sky,  between  his  lips.  Gentle  fingers  had  applied 
to  hands  and  feet,  to  all  those  old  passageways 
of  the  senses,  through  which  the  world  had  come 
and  gone  for  him,  now  so  dim  and  obstructed,  a 
medicinable  oil."  And  then  the  same  people  "  in 
the  gray  austere  evening"  bury  him  secretly  with 
prayers,  and  conceive  of  him  as  a  martyr ;  and 
martyrdom,  as  the  church  had  always  said,  is  "a 
kind  of  sacrament  with  plenary  grace."  &  &  & 
&  The  meaning  of  Pater,  in  giving  Marius  the 
sacraments  in  "extreme  helplessness,"  is  plain. 
Marius  remained,  in  the  author's  conception,  a 
philosopher,  therefore  a  doubter,  to  the  last.  He 
succumbed  by  force  of  circumstances  to  the  ten 
der  influence  of  the  lives  of  the  Christians,  their 
simple  ceremonial.  He  had  come,  by  the  senses, 
into  rapport  with  their  spiritual  rapture,  and  in 
the  Extreme  Unction,  the  senses  were  symbolic 
ally  sanctified  and  their  kinship  with  the  purely 
spiritual  emphasized.  The  senses  suggestively  are 
pronounced  to  be  sacramental,  a  part  of  "the  out- 


THELAWOFLOVE  153 

ward  sign  of  the  inward  grace/'  and  lurking  in 
the  restraint  of  the  description  of  the  death  of 
Marius  is  a  hint  that  the  "last  anguish"  is  but  a 
slipping  into  a  newer,  higher  sensuousness  of  calm. 
Q  This  is  a  very  naturalistic  explanation  of  the 
steps  by  which,  as  any  one  may  readily  under 
stand,  a  refined,  sympathetic  Roman,  disgusted 
with  the  civilization  he  saw  crumbling  about  him, 
and  disappointed  in  the  summum  bonam  which 
this  or  that  philosophy,  prior  to  the  coming  of  the 
Christians,  had  to  offer,  might  have  come  to  ac 
cept  the  Church;  although  it  is  stated  with  an 
explicitness  as  great  as  the  writer  under  consid 
eration  ever  permitted  himself  to  indulge,  Marius 
was  not  a  Christian  &  The  true  believer  will  find 
Pater's  endeavor  to  explain,  through  Marius,  the 
natural  growth  of  the  creed,  almost  offensive.  The 
book  makes  Christianity  a  growth  out  of  the  needs 
of  the  world,  not  only  for  the  mob,  the  submerged 
tenth,  the  proletariat  of  the  time,  but  for  the  cul 
tivated  Roman  saturated  in  the  wisdom  of  the 
ancients  &&&&&&&&&&£>& 
However,  whatever  may  be  its  defects  as  to  the 
presentation  of  a  logical  explanation  of  the  grip 


154 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


which  the  creed  took  upon  the  world,  there  is  no 
disputing  the  merits  of  the  novel  as  a  specimen 
of  style  in  writing.  If  you  have  read  a  book  called 
Intentions,  or  if  you  have  seen  a  play  called  Lady 
Windermere's  Fan,  and  have  also  read  Walter 
Pater  you  will  have  observed  that  there  is  some 
thing  of  the  same  quality  of  art  in  each  author. 
The  resemblance  between  the  two  is  vague,  per 
haps,  but  it  is  there.  There  is  a  preciosity  in  each 
that  is  exotic.  There  is  in  each  an  insistent  self- 
consciousness.  There  is  in  both  an  intense  concern 
with  the  idea  that  life  shall  be  made  an  art  ^  In 
both  there  is  something  femininely  over-meticu 
lous.  Pater,  however,  had  restraint  &  The  other 
author  is  simply  mad  to  say  bright  things.  Pater 
may  think  fancifully  or  fantastically,  arabesquing 
upon  his  ideas  and  developing  curiosities  of  spec 
ulation  or  analogy  upon  his  thought.  The  other 
takes  the  easier  method  to  startle  or  please  the 
reader,  in  adopting  the  attitude  of  perversity  de 
liberately  and  with  every  determination  to  deceive 
by  trickery  into  a  belief  in  his  originality.  There 
is  not  in  Marius  the  Epicurean  one  passage  of 
passion  of  the  earthly  sort,  yet  there  are  passages 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


155 


in  abundance  that  find  the  heart  and  stir  its  core 
with  mere  love  of  a  beautiful  day,  a  flash  of  land 
scape,  a  dalliance  with  an  idea  or  a  phantasy.  The 
whole  book  teems  with  the  pathos  of  beauty,  a 
pathos  like  that  of  remembered  or  distant  singing, 
a  pathos  like  that  which  smites  one  in  the  cathe 
dral  effects  of  light  in  woods  of  long  past  sum 
mer  evenings  ^  This  sensuousness  of  the  volume 
in  time  appears  to  the  reader  to  have  a  distinct 
quality  of  sanctity.  The  joy  of  life  is  so  keenly  felt, 
and  at  the  same  time  so  held  in  restraint,  that  one 
fancies  that  it  must  have  been  not  at  all  difficult 
for  the  Christian  idea  to  find  hospitable  reception 
in  the  mind  and  heart  of  one  who  loved  the  world 
as  did  Marius  **  Quietude  is  the  sum  of  all  the 
charms  of  this  story  of  soul  and  sense.  The  vol 
ume  is  Thomas  a  Kempis  transmuted  into  the 
mood  of  the  men  who  were  saddened  by  Rome's 
decay.  Its  calm  is  the  result  of  minute  laborious- 
ness.  The  effect  of  simplicity  in  the  style  is  con 
trived  by  the  almost  exhausting  complexity  of  the 
finishing  -j*  The  narration  is  written,  at  least  im- 
pliedly,  in  imitation  of  that  book  of  Apuleius,  to 
which  Flavian  introduced  Marius,  which  Pater, 


156  THELAWOFLOVE 

imitating  the  immediate  successors  of  Apuleius, 
calls  "the  Golden  Book."  Of  the  book  of  Apu 
leius,  Pater  writes  a  chapter  verging  upon  rhap 
sody.  He  describes,  perhaps  not  altogether  uncon 
sciously,  in  this  chapter,  his  own  work.  It  is  "  full 
of  archaisms  and  curious  felicities,  quaint  terms 
and  images  picked  from  the  early  dramatists,  the 
life-like  phrases  of  some  lost  poet  preserved  by 
an  old  grammarian,  racy  morsels  of  the  vernacu 
lar  and  studied  prettiness — all  alike,  mere  play 
things  for  the  genuine  power  &  natural  eloquence 
of  the  erudite  artist  unsuppressed  by  his  erudi 
tion."  His  style  has  not  "that  old-fashioned,  uncon 
scious  ease  of  the  early  literature."  It  is  marked  by 
"the  infinite  patience"  of  Apuleius.  He  has  words 
"for  conveying,  with  a  single  touch,  the  sense  of 
textures,  colors,  incidents."  "  Like  jewelers'  work." 
"  Like  a  myrrhine  vase."  Pater  uses  the  common 
speech,  when  not  disporting  himself  in  curious 
refinements  of  utterance  "with  all  the  care  of  a 
learned  language."  Marias  the  Epicurean  is  per 
haps  the  one  English  book  that  would  have  ecsta- 
cized  into  stillness  the  souls  of  Gautier  and  Bau 
delaire  and  de  Maupassant.  In  sensuous  pictur- 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


157 


esqueness  the  style,  simple  in  spite  of  its  multi 
plied  involutions  and  parentheses,  is  the  despair 
ing  delight  of  all  who  feel  that  utterance  by  word 
of  mouth  or  pen,  should  convey  every  sensation. 
Its  asceticism  of  luxury  is  exasperating.  It  is  alive 
with  the  tantalization  of  glamour.  It  holds  whiffs 
of  half -for  gotten  incense,  ghost-sounds  of  "tired 
bells  chiming  in  their  sleep  " ;  recalls  all  old,  sad 
things  of  youth  £•£•£'£•£•£•£•£•£•£• 
To  those  who  have  been  fascinated  by  the  taw- 
driness  of  Quo  Vadis, — the  Christianity  as  tawdry 
as  the  pagan  barbarity — it  is  feared  that  the  del 
icate  beauty,  veiling  almost  irresistible  strength, 
of  the  Pater  romance  will  hardly  appeal  «^  The 
work  is  the  projection  of  a  mood  of  deep  sympa 
thy  for  the  old  dying  paganism,  which,  in  some  of 
its  higher  forms,  contained  implications  of  a  yearn 
ing  for  that  gentleness  which  the  Christ  came  to 
proclaim.  The  story  illustrates,  by  slow  develop 
ment,  in  the  pedestrian  style,  the  steady  growth 
of  the  truth  that  man  cannot  live  either  by  reason 
or  by  the  enjoyment  of  the  present  hour  alone. 
Gradually  the  appeal  of  the  Christian  idea  bears 
down,  by  its  superior  humanity,  by  its  presentation 


158 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


of  the  thought  that  the  most  exalted  sensuousness 
is  attainable  in  an  affection  which  may  reach  out 
to  all  men,  &  even  unto  Divinity  itself,  all  obstruc 
tion  in  the  shape  of  the  old  Roman  exclusiveness 
and  intense  intellectual  pride.  In  the  new  creed 
and  its  ritual  there  was  manifest  "a  generous 
eclecticism  within  the  bounds  of  liberty."  They 
were  gathering  and  serviceably  adapting  to  their 
ends  things  from  all  sources,  Gnostic,  Jewish,  Pa 
gan.  Above  all,  the  course  of  thought  led  up  to  by 
the  early,  pure  creed  of  the  Christians  suggested 
that  man  was  no  longer  the  helpless,  hopeless 
victim  of  Nature,  but  that  there  existed  for  Ma- 
rius  at  least,  a  heart,  even  as  his  own,  behind  the 
vain  show  of  things  &£•<£•£•£•&£•&£• 
And  thus,  as  it  seems  to  me,  Marias  the  Epicurean 
is  a  Bible  of  the  true  religion  of  the  higher  sen 
suousness,  dignifying,  in  a  peculiar  way,  our  mor 
tality  and  fleshliness,  by  showing  how  they  may, 
and  do,  tend  upward  to  the  purely  spiritual  con 
ception  of  the  scheme  of  the  world  and  the  ends 
of  man  beyond  the  grave  and  "  beyond  the  flam 
ing  ramparts  of  the  world."  &  &  <&  <&  &  ^ 
It  is  a  religion  that  is  one  with  Art  and  Science 


THE    LAW    OF    LOVE 


159 


and  Song  and  Hope  and  Memory  and  Joy  and 
Suffering — all  the  shapes  that  Beauty  takes.  It  is 
not  wholly  a  cultus  de  contemptu  mundi,  for  it 
finds  in  the  pity  of  fleetingness  an  added  glam 
our  upon  things  and  a  hint  at  glories  that  shall 
not  pass  away.  The  gradual  and  almost  complete 
surrender  of  Epicureanism  to  the  new  creed  seems 
to  be  a  demonstration  that  happiness  &  goodness 
may  be  attained  by  making  the  most,  in  a  high 
way,  of  this,  the  only  world  we  surely  know,  by 
cultivating  in  the  senses,  the  soul,  until  the  senses, 
as  soul,  seem  to  reach  out  and  apprehend  in 
almost  tangible  fashion  the  realities  of  the  unseen. 


So  here  endeth  The  Law  of  Love,  as  written  by 
William  Marion  Reedy,  and  done  into  a  book  by 
The  Roycrofters,  at  their  Shop,  which  is  in  East 
Aurora,  New  York,  Nineteen  Hundred  and  Five 


M182181 


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